EXCLUSIVE: I have learned that Apple has pulled the plug on an Elvis Presley biopic series from The Weinstein Company in light of the controversy that has engulfed TWC since last week’s explosive exposé about its co-founder Harvey Weinstein.
The Elvis project was in very early stages, sources close to the Silicon Valley giant tell Deadline. I hear it had been set up at Apple Music a couple of months ago and predated the establishment of an Apple worldwide video division led by Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg. I hear the deal, which now has been terminated, was for an biopic series, but there was an idea to grow that into an anthology franchise with Prince and Michael Jackson eyed as subjects in subsequent installments. I hear that TWC COO David Glasser is re-engaging another network that had bid on the series when it first was taken out.
In light of the devastating New York Times report Thursday that chronicled Weinstein’s alleged long history of sexual harassment, he was fired from TWC on Sunday evening. His name will be removed from all ongoing TWC TV series on which he had served as executive producer.
These series, which are in far more advanced stages, including pre-production and production, all are proceeding as planned, at least for now, as most already have contracted large casts and crews. In contrast, the Elvis series was just past the dealmaking stage, making it easier for Apple to pull the plug.
TWC’s current series include Project Runway on Lifetime, Six on History, Scream on MTV as well as the upcoming Waco with Taylor Kitsch and Yellowstone with Kevin Costner for Paramount TV; a new series from David O. Russell, starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore for Amazon; and Matthew Weiner’s The Romanoffs, also for Amazon.
Weinstein Television had partnered with the Elvis Presley estate in 2016 to create an eight- to 10-part television biopic that gave the company all music rights and access to shoot in the singer’s Graceland home and to the King’s automobiles, clothes and jets.
The series was going to draw on the Dave Marsh book Elvis as well as archives that include Presley’s personal journals. Harvey Weinstein was supposed to be an executive producer alongside Priscilla Presley, Jerry Schilling and TWC’s David Glasser.