Michael Shannon has been cast in an HBO pilot as former Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss from the iconic ‘Showtime’ era. The show itself was previously dubbed Showtime, but has since had a name change to the new working title Untitled Showtime Lakers Project. Writers at The Wrap speculate that it’s not a far stretch to think that one premium cable network didn’t want to incidentally promote a different premium cable network. However, it is important to note that the show might take its name from its source material, the nonfiction Jeff Pearlman book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.
The logline for the pilot reads, “a fast-break series chronicling the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, one of sports’ most revered and dominant dynasties – a team that defined its era, both on and off the court.” The character description for Jerry Buss reads, “a self-made millionaire who redefines American sports, celebrity, and wealth by transforming the Lakers into a dynasty, but his house of cards threatens to collapse on him – and the people he loves most.”
The series is set to be an hour-long drama and will be executive produced by Adam McKay (Succession), who will also direct the pilot. Max Borenstein (Godzilla) is a co-writer with Jim Hecht and they will both executive produce alongside Jason Shuman, Scott Stephens, and Rodney Barnes. Kevin Messick, longtime collaborator of McKay’s, will also executive produce. McKay recently started his own yet-to-be-named production company where Messick holds a position.
Shannon, who has previously been nominated for Oscars, Golden Globes, and Tonys, has done extensive television work in the past, including Boardwalk Empire, Fahrenheit 451, The Little Drummer Girl, Waco, and Room 104. He can be seen next in Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s The Current War with Benedict Cumberbatch. Later this fall, he will be featured in Rian Johnson’s murder mystery Knives Out. Next year he will return to the stage opposite Paul Sparks in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.
HBO had previously announced the casting of Jason Clarke as Jerry West, the general manager of the team during the ‘Showtime’ era. His character description reads, “the cantankerous tortured genius of basketball [who] ought to be the perfect man to build the Lakers into a dynasty – if only he can get past his own worst enemy: Jerry West.”