Fox has added a pair of high-profile projects to its longform development coffers.
The network is teaming with The Social Network‘s Michael De Luca and Nigel Williams (Elizabeth I) to adapt Shogun and with The Hunger Games‘ Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson (World War Z) to bring Jeffrey Toobin‘s best-seller The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson to the screen.
"These are both epic stories — one fiction, one fact — that have captivated millions of people worldwide," said Shana Waterman, senior vp event series and multiplatform programming at Fox Broadcasting Co. "They’re riveting and emotional, with unique historic backdrops that lend themselves to the high-quality, dramatic event series we’re looking to make. Since we announced our first two projects, Wayward Pines and Blood Brothers, we’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response from the creative community, and we’re ecstatic to have feature talent like Michael De Luca, Nigel Williams, Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson working to bring these stories to life at Fox.”
Both projects hail from FX Productions, which recently hired former HBO exec Gina Balian to oversee the newly launched divisionas it supplies content to FX, the Fox Movie Channel and broadcast cousin Fox. Fox topper Kevin Reilly at the time said the network was hungry for longform content — which FX has found success with in American Horror Story — that will start as 10- to 12-part events that can both stand-alone or be evolved into franchises.
Shogun is based on the best-seller by James Clavell and explores 17th century Japan. The story is told from the perspective of British hero John Blackthorne, a sailor who rises from outsider to samurai while being used as a pawn in Japanese leader Toranaga’s struggle to reach the top of the ruling chain — or Shogun. NBC previously adapted the book as a mini in 1980.
For its part, the Simpson project recounts the "Trial of the Century" that started when the former football star fled police in his white Bronco through his murder trial for the slayings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman and the 24-hour news cycle that followed. Golden Globe winners Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (The People vs. Larry Flint) will pen the project.
Fox is expected to order its first event series later this season, with plans to add it to the schedule in 2014. The Shogun and Simpson vehicles join previously announced Blood Brothers, from Bruce C. McKenna (Band of Brothers) and Twin Peaks-esque Wayward Pines, from M. Night Shyamalan and Chad Hodge. Wayward, like Shogun and People v O.J. Simpson, is also based on a book — Blake Crouch’s Pines.