Fox just announced two very different long-form projects in development based on best-selling books: James Clavell’s classic novel Shōgun and legal journalist Jeffrey Toobin’s The Run of His Life: The People vs. O.J. Simpson are both in the works for “event series” treatment.
“These are both epic stories – one fiction, one fact – that have captivated millions of people worldwide,” said Shana C. Waterman, a senior vp at Fox. “They’re riveting and emotional, with unique historic backdrops that lend themselves to the high-quality, dramatic event series we’re looking to make.”
The projects are dubbed “event series” by Fox instead of the traditional term “mini-series.” The distinction: They’re longer (10 to 12 parts) and could hypothetically extend beyond one season (though the Simpson project seems pretty self-contained). The shows have notable auspices on board — Shōgun is from producers Michael De Luca (The Social Network) and Nigel Williams (Elizabeth I); The Run of His Life: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, which chronicles Simpson’s 1995 murder trial, is from Nina Jacobson (The Hunger Games) and Brad Simpson (World War Z).
Shōgun was previously adapted into an NBC miniseries in 1980 starring Richard Chamberlain.
More notoriously, Fox scheduled a two-part interview with Simpson in 2006 as part of the promotional tour for his planned quasi-confessional book If I Did It. The network touted in the press release, “Simpson describes how he would have carried out the murders he has vehemently denied committing for over a decade.” After public outcry and several of the network’s affiliates balking at the prospect of airing the interview, Fox decided not to air the special.
SHŌGUN, based on the best-selling novel by James Clavell, opens a window into the brutal world of a rarely seen feudal Japan. Set in the 17th Century, 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 Shōgun. A classic for the ages, SHŌGUN is both a cross-cultural exploration of Blackthorne’s journey away from the European way of life, and a star-crossed love story, as he falls for the magnificent Lady Mariko, the married confidant to Toranaga.
Everybody remembers where they were when O.J. Simpson, riding in a white Bronco, led the police on a low-speed chase all over Los Angeles. This marked the emergence of the 24-hour news cycle and the birth of reality television. Written by Golden Globe Award winners Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (“The People vs. Larry Flint,” “Man on the Moon,” “Ed Wood”), THE RUN OF HIS LIFE: THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON (wt) will take viewers behind the scenes of “The Trial of The Century,” driven by the nonstop plot of a courtroom thriller and presenting the story of the trial as it has never been told.