By James Hibberd
June 24, 2020 at 01:30 PM EDT
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CBS Television Studios/SHOWTIME

Showtime has changed its mind about when to air The Comey Rule.

The cable network has decided to schedule the first high-profile dramatic portrayal of Donald Trump since he became president before the upcoming 2020 presidential election — on Sunday, Sept. 27 and Monday, Sept. 28.

Previously, Showtime had scheduled the limited series to air in late November, after the Nov. 3 general election.

Writer/director Billy Ray had blasted the decision to air the project after the election earlier this week in a letter to his cast.

"We all were hoping to get this story in front of the American people months before the coming election," read the letter, according to Deadline. "And that was a reasonable expectation considering that we’d been given a mandate by the network to do whatever was necessary to deliver by May 15. But at some point in March or April, that mandate changed. Word started drifting back to me that a decision about our airdate had been made at the very highest levels of Viacom: all talk of our airing before the election was suddenly a “non-starter.” I and my fellow producers asked for a chance to plead our case on the matter, but we were told that even the discussion itself was a “non-starter" ... Why? I don’t know. The health of a media company depends on attracting audiences — and our movie, aired in August of an election year, would have been very big news. Can you imagine the billboards? Comey Vs. Trump! A cast loaded with Emmy winners! Yet here we are...." 

The project stars Brendan Gleeson and Jeff Daniels as President Donald Trump as former FBI Director James Comey, respectively. The Comey Rule is based on the former FBI director's best-selling book, A Higher Loyalty, as well as additional interviews with key figures, and tells "the story of two powerful figures, Comey and Trump, whose strikingly different personalities, ethics and loyalties put them on a collision course," according to a press release.

The two-part, four-hour series, adapted and directed by Oscar nominee Billy Ray (Captain Phillips), will begin by examining the FBI's investigations into Hillary Clinton's emails and Russian interference in the 2016 election, before heading into "a virtual day-by-day account" of the early months of Trump's presidency and his tumultuous relationship with Comey. A formidable ensemble of acting talent is also on board, including Holly Hunter as former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, Michael Kelly as former FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Jennifer Ehle as Patrice Comey, Jonathan Banks as former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, Kingsley Ben-Adir as President Obama, and Peter Coyote as Robert Mueller.

—Tyler Aquilina contributed to this story.

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