CBS Developing Patty Hearst Limited Series

The scripted endeavor is the latest true crime project in the works.
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Patty Hearst

Television's true crime fad continues.

CBS is developing a scripted limited series about Patty Hearst's kidnapping. The currently untitled project will revisit the story of the granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, who was abducted from her Berkeley, Calif., apartment by terrorist group Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) in 1974.

Should the project be ordered to series, it would explore the 19-month FBI/police search and capture of Hearst, who turned SLA sympathizer and changed her name to Tania, that captivated the nation and played out on the nightly news during the course of her trial. 

Produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Asylum Entertainment, the project will be written by Jonathan Tolins, who also will executive produce alongside Jonathan Koch, Steve Michaels, Rocky Lang and Joan Harrison.

The Hearst project is the latest in a slew of unscripted and scripted true crime series hitting broadcast, cable and streaming platforms of late. Among the buzziest: FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, HBO's The Jinx and Netflix's Making a Murderer. And in April, CBS ordered an unscripted true crime anthology series, the first season of which will focus on the JonBenet Ramsey case.

For their part, The People v. O.J. Simpson scribes Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander are developing The Run of His Life author Jeffrey Toobin's latest book about Hearst's kidnapping into a film adaptation for Fox 2000.

“It has a lot of parallels to the O.J. trial in the sense that it was this huge case in the middle of the 1970s in which the radical kidnappers sort of used the press to push their agenda and it became a bit of a media circus as well,” Alexander told The Hollywood Reporter.

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