July 27, 2013 10:03am PT by Lesley Goldberg
NBC Orders Hillary Clinton, 'Rosemary's Baby,' Stephen King's 'Tommyknockers,' Plymouth Rock Miniseries
NBC is becoming the latest network to dive head-first into the limited series.
NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt used his forum Saturday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour to announce the network is developing four new high-profile event series.
In addition to the previously announced six-hour miniseries based on Cleopatra, NBC has ordered a four-hour miniseries based on former first lady Hillary Clinton starring Diane Lane, an "updated remake" of Rosemary's Baby, a new version of Stephen King's Tommyknockers and another limited series from Mark Burnett tentatively called Plymouth.
Greenblatt gave credit to CBS' Nina Tassler for the network's big summer swing with King's Under the Dome, noting that being in business with the author "sounds interesting" to executives at the network. Thus far this summer, Dome ranks as the No. 1 scripted series and a bona fide hit on Monday nights.
The four minis come a month after NBC hired ABC's Quinn Taylor as its new longform point person, who in the past has overseen King's previous miniseries.
For Burnett, this marks his second miniseries at the network, joining his follow-up to History's record-breaking The Bible with A.D.: Beyond the Bible, which the network added in early July.
Greenblatt noted the deal for the Clinton biopic just closed and casting has yet to begin for an actor to play Bill Clinton. While the former secretary of state is likely to announce her candidacy for president, Greenblatt said the mini will likely air before then -- avoiding concerns about offering about equal time to her potential Republican challenger.
"She's not going to declare her candidacy for two more years, so I think it will be the late spring or early summer of '15 that she will declare," Greenblatt told reporters. "This could well have aired before that. We have to talk through all that."
Hilary will be written and directed by Frozen River's Courtney Hunt and will recount Clinton's life as a wife, mother, politician and cabinet member from 1998 to the present. The script will begin with Clinton living in the White House as her husband is serving the second of his two terms as president. It will include her likely run for president. Busted Shark's Sherryl Clark will executive produce alongside James D. Stern (Looper). Greenblatt told reporters following his presentation that the former first lady hadn't yet heard of the project. (The project comes almost 10 years after Greenblatt opted to air CBS' controversial mini The Reagans during his tenure at Showtime.)
The NBC miniseries comes as a Hillary Clinton theatrical film also is taking shape. Rodham, which focuses on the future first lady's formative years in the 1970s and her courtship with Bill Clinton, is currently in development and seeking an actress to play the lead character.
Rosemary's Baby will also be a four-hour mini and is described as an updated retelling of the novel by Ira Levin that led to a feature film about devil worship and the relationship between a young husband and wife. In the new incarnation, the couple lives in Paris. Lionsgate will produce with Scott Abbott (Winchell) on board to pen the project. Joshua Maurer, David Stern, Perri Kipperman and Alix Witlin will executive produce.
King's Tommyknockers is based on the author's 1987 novel about the residents of a small Maine town and how they deal with what they perceive to be an alien spacecraft that has landed nearby. Frank Konigsberg and Larry Sanitsky will executive produce, while Emmy winner Yves Simoneau (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee) will direct.
Limited series Plymouth will follow the challenges and drama of the Pilgrims' journey across the Atlantic and the difficulties of settling in a new country. Burnett and Anne Thomopoulos of Mark Burnett Productions will executive produce alongside Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo of Little Engine. Oscar and Emmy winner Walon Green (NYPD Blue, The Hellstrom Chronicle) will pen the project.
With the additions, NBC becomes the latest network to delve further into the longform/event series business. The big push, which includes multiple high-profile projects at FX, Fox and ABC, comes as broadcast and cable networks alike look to lure A-list actors, prestige and eyeballs in an era dominated by DVRs. Greenblatt stressed the importance of event series and must-see live programming at NBC, including shows like The Voice as well as sports and Olympics programming.