EXCLUSIVE: Watergate seemingly is the hottest topic in television these days, and CBS Television Studios is getting in on the action. The studio is developing a series based on Thomas Mallon’s novel Watergate after optioning the rights.
CBS Television Studios has picked up the rights to Mallon’s book in association with Paul Giamatti and Dan Carey’s production company Touchy Feely Films. Band of Brothers screenwriter John Orloff is set to adapt and write the project. Touchy Feely Films has a first-look deal with CBS Television Studios, and the project is being considered for premium and streaming networks such as CBS-owned Showtime and CBS All Access.
The show, which has been envisioned as a limited series with a darkly comedic tone, will tackle the events of the political break in and subsequent downfall of Richard Nixon’s presidency through the eyes of a collection of characters that weren’t as well known. Although Watergate has been well told through movies including the Robert Redford-Dustin Hoffman starrer All the President’s Men, the historical fiction novel tells the story through a kaleidoscope of its colorful perpetrators and investigators.
In addition to the volumes of committee records, court transcripts and memoirs, Mallon’s Watergate follows seven characters from the private cabins of Camp David to the klieg lights of the Senate Caucus Room, the District of Columbia jail and the Dupont Circle mansion of Theodore Roosevelt’s sharp-tongued 90-year-old daughter. It aims to solve some of the scandal’s greatest mysteries such as who erased those 18 1/2 minutes of tape. David A. Stern also exec produces.
It is the latest Watergate project on the docket, following a limited series that has been set up at Netflix with George Clooney and Bridge of Spies writer Matt Charman. That eight-part show, which is being produced by Sonar Entertainment, focuses on individuals surrounding the 1970s scandal such as former Attorney General John Mitchell and Nixon counsel John Ehrlichman. It is styled after Akira Kurosawa’s classic Japanese period drama Rashomon.
Elsewhere, A+E Studios is at work on a multipart Watergate series for History with Charles Ferguson, the director of “Inside Job,” the 2010 documentary on the financial crisis.