Television

Russell Crowe to Play Roger Ailes for Showtime Series

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Showtime has confirmed that the network will release an eight-episode limited series about Fox News founder Roger Ailes. The limited-series will star Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind) in the title role, and will be based upon the reporting of Gabriel Sherman in New York magazine and his bestselling book, The Loudest Voice in the Room.

Sherman co-wrote the initial episode with Oscar winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight, Win Win), who will executive produce with Emmy winner Jason Blum. The project is a co-production from Showtime and Blumhouse Television (Sharp Objects, The Normal Heart). The announcement was made today by David Nevins, President and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc.

“In many ways, the collision between the media and politics has come to define the world we live in today,” Nevins said. “We’ve seen this phenomenon depicted on screen as far back as the story of Charles Foster Kane, and it finds contemporary embodiment in the rise and fall of Roger Ailes. With Russell Crowe in the lead role, this limited series promises to be a defining story for this era.”

The studio described the series in a statement:

“In today’s politically charged media landscape, no figure looms larger, even after his passing, than Roger Ailes, molding Fox News into a force that irrevocably changed the conversation about the highest levels of government. To understand the events that led to the rise of Donald Trump, one must understand Ailes. The upcoming limited series takes on that challenge, focusing primarily on the past decade in which Ailes arguably became the Republican Party’s de facto leader, while flashing back to defining events in Ailes’ life, including an initial meeting with Richard Nixon on the set of The Mike Douglas Show that gave birth to Ailes’ political career and the sexual harassment accusations and settlements that brought his Fox News reign to an end.”

Told through multiple points of view, the limited series aims to shed light on the psychology that drives the political process from the top down. McCarthy’s deft handling of similarly complex, high-stakes storytelling in Spotlight earned him an Oscar for co-writing 2017’s Academy Award winner for best picture, plus an Oscar nomination for directing. For the primary source material, The Loudest Voice in the Room, Sherman interviewed more than 600 people.

The project is executive produced by McCarthy, Blum and Alex Metcalf, along with Marci Wiseman and Jeremy Gold for Blumhouse Television, which originally optioned the rights to Sherman’s book and brought the project to SHOWTIME and is managing physical production.

Crowe is a three-time Oscar nominee as Best Actor, winning for Gladiator. He is also a five-time Golden Globe nominee as Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, winning that award (as well as BAFTA and the SAG honors for Lead Actor) thanks to his Oscar-nominated performance in A Beautiful Mind. Crowe’s work in The Insider earned him nominations from the Oscars, Golden Globes, BAFTA and SAG.