Showtime and Teddy Roosevelt hardly seem like a natural fit but the network has announced it is developing a limited series based on the life of America’s heroic 26th President. According to Variety David McKenna (American History X, Blow) will serve as writer and one of the executive producers. Ben Silverman and Sean Canino from the studio Electus, and Jon Rubenstein and Jason Egenberg from Authentic Talent and Literary Management will also serve as executive producers.
Showtime, with its adult-oriented After Hours programming block and edgy original fare like Californication, isn’t the first network you’d think of a historical drama of an American political icon. But Silverman, who produced the Showtime drama The Tudors, has proven that all it takes is larger than life personalities to make good TV. Few men could provide a better template.
Roosevelt was a cowboy, war hero, Nobel Prize winner, naturalist, and explorer. He survived an assassination attempt because a 50-page written speech in his pocket blocked the bullet. As a young man he served as a deputy sheriff, chasing outlaws across the plains. Serving on the board of police commissioners he helped to reform the NYPD, walking the streets at night to make sure police were doing their jobs. When the Spanish-American War broke out he resigned his office job as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to form a volunteer cavalry regiment and lead men into infantry action. During his two terms in office he was known for his work as a trust-buster and advocate for both labor and management, promoting ‘a square deal for every man’. He is one of the four Presidents carved on Mount Rushmore and…the teddy bear is named after him; the difficulty may be deciding what parts of his story to leave out.
While Roosevelt the man will probably be enough of a draw for curious audiences the development team is hinting that they’re looking to attach top-tier talent as well. According to Cinemablend the producers have somebody in mind to both star and executive produce, a carrot generally reserved for established, respected actors.
Electus is the studio behind the critical hit Jane the Virgin, Netflix original series Marco Polo, and reality shows including Running Wild with Bear Grylls and Food Fighters. They also own digital outlets like CollegeHumor.com, and WatchLOUD.com.