According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dick Wolf (Law & Order) is collaborating with Tom Thayer (Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee), Robert Schenkkan (The Pacific) and Bruce C. McKenna (The Pacific) for the premium drama series American Babylon. The project will be air on premium cable networks and streaming services later in July.
Inspired by Salley Denton and Roger Morris’ The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America, Schenkkan created and wrote the series with McKenna. Universal Television has acquired the rights over the project.
American Babylon documents the creation of Las Vegas in all of its pain and glory with the American Dream as the backdrop. It follows the struggles of three families and how they intertwine: the violent Sammy Wise and his resolute wife Esther, Black businessman Jefferson Delandro, his wife Edda May, and daughter Bella, and lastly veteran and aspiring reporter Michael Arcona. From leading crimes to fighting structural racism and exposing the bellyside of the city, each family plays a different role while making a living in Sin City.
The show also mixes fictional and historical figures, namely Lena Horne, JFK, The Rat Pack, and the elusive Howard Hughes. American Babylon touches on themes of hope and dreams, power and corruption and even redemption, all set in Las Vegas.
Deadline reports Wolf saying, “I have always been fascinated by Las Vegas, a city that has the most colorful history of any in our country. Using the definitive source materials written by Sally Denton and Roger Morris, adapted by two award-winning writer/producers, Rob Schenkkan and Bruce McKenna, we are creating a diverse three-family history that spans generations, so viewers will see the growth of Vegas through their stories. The last time I teamed with Tom Thayer on a scripted project, we produced Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, which earned a record 17 Emmy nominations and won for Outstanding Television Movie. It’s a high bar, but I think we can clear it with American Babylon.”