'Goodfellas' Duo Prep Mafia Drama for Discovery (Exclusive)

Irvin Winkler Nicholas Pileggi - H 2013
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Irvin Winkler Nicholas Pileggi - H 2013

Discovery Communications is teaming with Academy Award-nominated Goodfellas duo Irwin Winkler and Nicholas Pileggi for its first scripted drama series.

The cabler is developing The Five Families, the first-ever dramatic account of the founding families of the Mafia. Pileggi, who penned the screenplay for Goodfellas, will pen the pilot script. The drama marks the first series to invoke the real figures and actual events in the history of the Gambino, Genovese, Lucchese, Bonanno and Colombo Mafia families -- also known as the famed five crime families of New York.

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Discovery Communications will produce The Five Families as a global event with plans to debut the drama on one or more of its U.S. and international networks.

For Discovery, Five Families marks its first scripted series and comes as the network is using miniseries to pushing into the original space. Discovery is readying limited series North and South, based on John Jakes' best-selling book trilogy, as well as an adaptation of Nigel Tranter's The Wallace and The Bruce Trilogy. The latter, like the network's first original miniseries -- Klondike, which will launch in December -- hails from Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions.  

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For their part, Winkler produced and Pileggi wrote Goodfellas, which was nominated in 1991 for best picture (for Winkler), screenplay (Pileggi and Martin Scorsese), editing (Thelma Schoonmaker) and directing (Scorsese). Joe Pesci won the Oscar for best supporting actor, and co-star Lorraine Bracco was nominated for her supporting turn as well.

Pileggi's recent small-screen credits include CBS' short-lived drama Vegas. He's also prepping a potential series based on Goodfellas for AMC with Winkler attached. He's repped by Danny Greenberg and Bloom Hergott.

Winkler's credits include The Wolf of Wall Street, The Mechanic and Rocky Balboa. He's repped by CAA, Chasen & Co. and Bloom Hergott.

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
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