May 27, 2014 8:30am PT by Lacey Rose
'Justified's' Graham Yost Developing War Drama at WGN America (Exclusive)
Graham Yost has found his next war drama.
The executive producer of both The Americans and Justified is developing a project based on a forthcoming Alex Kershaw novel, Avenue of Spies, for WGN America.
The drama, which is set in Nazi-occupied Paris on the eve of World War II, chronicles the true story of an American-born doctor and his family who fall in with the French Resistance, spying from their home just doors away from the Gestapo headquarters and one of Hitler's most feared SS captains. It is set up at Sony Pictures TV, which acquired the rights to the nonfiction book in a bidding war.
Andrea Berloff, best known for writing Oliver Stone's 2006 film, World Trade Center, is attached to write and executive produce, while Yost, who likely is thinking about next steps as the sixth and final season of Justified approaches, is on board as an executive producer. The content of Spies seems almost tailor-made for Yost, whose resume is lined with other layered war dramas, including HBO's The Pacific and Band of Brothers.
The pair will be joined by fellow EPs Judith Venro (Masters of Sex), who has previously partnered with Kershaw, and Television 360's Meghan Lyvers, Jill McElroy and Ben Forkner. Kershaw, a New York Times best-selling author with a portfolio of nine books, including The Liberator (2012) and World War II narratives The Bedford Boys (2003) and The Longest Winter (2004), will serve as a co-executive producer on the project.
Spies is not Kershaw's first Hollywood dealing. In fact, Liberator is currently in development at the History Channel as a miniseries, while at least three other Kershaw books, Blood and Champagne (2004), The Few (2006) and Escape from the Deep (2008), have been optioned by studios.
For Television 360, the TV production arm of Management 360, the entry joins a growing slate led by HBO juggernaut Game of Thrones. Developing original content under the leadership of Lyvers at 360 has been a boon to a growing collection of management companies in recent years. In fact, in-house packages have led to HBO's True Detective (Anonymous Content), and Amy Poehler's management shop 3 Arts is a producer on her star NBC vehicle, Parks and Recreation, along with Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Mindy Project.
If ultimately ordered to series, Spies would join a growing slate of scripted originals, including freshman entry Salem from Brannon Braga, and forthcoming drama Manhattan from Masters' Sam Shaw and The West Wing's Tommy Schlamme.
Yost is repped by CAA, while Berloff, who is also writing a new King Arthur tale for Disney, is repped by CAA and Management 360. Kershaw, whose book will be published by Crown next year, is repped by RWSG and Hornfischer Literary Management.
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose