EXCLUSIVE: CBS Television Studios has acquired the rights to I’m Dying Up Here author William Knoedelseder’s bestselling Bitter Brew about the dynastic but dysfunctional Busch brewing family, to develop as an epic American family drama series. It’s being eyed for cable/streaming services.
CBS TV Studios has secured the property for Emmy-winning producer Jeffrey Kramer (Ally McBeal, The Practice) under his overall deal with the studio. Kramer will serve as executive producer and Jenna Nicholson as producer for his Juniper Place Productions.
Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America’s Kings of Beer, is a New York Times bestseller that chronicles the true story of one of the most colorful family dynasties in the history of American commerce. Over the course of five generations, the Busch family of St. Louis took a tiny, bankrupt neighborhood brewery and built it into a corporate colossus on the strength of their signature brand, Budweiser, which they dubbed “the King of Beers.” In the process, they helped turn America into a beer-drinking nation while they attained a lifestyle rivaling those of Europe’s most extravagant royals.
Harper Collins, the book’s publisher, calls it, “A cautionary tale of prosperity, hubris, and loss.” John Sayles, director of Eight Men Out, said it “deftly chronicles the contentious succession of kings in a uniquely American dynasty. You’ll never crack open a six again without thinking of this book.”
Knoedelseder came to prominence as an investigative reporter at The Los Angeles Times. His subsequent book Stiffed, an exposé of organized crime in the record business, led to the convictions of a score of New York mob figures, two of whom reportedly served as models for Tony Soprano and his music business mentor on the hit HBO series The Sopranos.
His most recent book, Fins, chronicles the rise of General Motors and the glory days of Detroit. The Detroit News calls it “a rollicking tale about the years when Detroit design dazzled the globe and defined an entire era.” He is represented by manager Sheri Rosenberg Kelton and Alice Martell of the Martell Agency.
Bitter Brew is Knoedelseder’s second book to be adapted by Hollywood. I’m Dying Up Here, his first-hand account of the Los Angeles comedy club scene in the 1970s, was turned into a one-hour drama series that ran for two seasons on Showtime.