1:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story' in the Works as Bravo TV Series
Bravo is taking another big swing in the scripted space.
A month after picking up the hot podcast Dirty John with a two-season order, the NBCUniversal-owned cable network is teaming with Vivek J. Tiwary to adapt his graphic novel, The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, as a limited scripted series.
The drama, which is in development, explores the personal life of the band's visionary manager, Brian Epstein, who helped launch the Fab Four to international stardom.
The potential series includes Tiwary's access to the John Lennon-Paul McCartney song catalog, marking the first Beatles-related biopic to secure those rights. Tiwary will pen the script and executive produce alongside Leopoldo Gout. The project hails from Universal Cable Productions and Sonar Entertainment.
The Fifth Beatle recounts Epstein's story, from discovering the Beatles in The Cavern Club in Liverpool, England, to guiding the band to become a global sensation. Epstein, as a gay Jewish man living in 1960s England where homosexuality was a felony, suffered from loneliness and a crushing desire to be one of the boys and belong. He would become the engineer of Beatlemania and a key architect of the cultural revolution in the '60s with his ambition to spread the Beatles' message of peace and love.
Fun fact: McCartney once said, "If anyone was the fifth Beatle, it was Brian."
The graphic novel was published by Dark Horse Comics and stems from the comic book label's overall deal with Universal Cable Productions. Tiwary wrote the book, with art from Andrew C. Robinson and Kyle Baker. The graphic novel was previously set up as a film — twice — in 2013 with Peyton Reed directing and in 2015 with Simon Cowell producing. IM Global was previously attached to the title.
The Fifth Beatle arrives as Bravo continues to invest in scripted programming. The cabler, in a competitive situation with multiple outlets bidding, picked up the anthology Dirty John with a sizable two-season order. Should The Fifth Beatle move forward, it would join a roster that also includes Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce and Imposters.
Tiwary, a Tony-winning producer behind A Raisin in the Sun and Green Day's American Idiot, is repped by Cheng Caplan and Morris Yorn.