6:45am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Hillary Clinton, Steven Spielberg Bringing Women's Voting Drama to TV (Exclusive)
Hillary Clinton is setting her sights on a new office: executive producer.
The former secretary of state is teaming with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television to bring Elaine Weiss' critically acclaimed book The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote to the small screen. The drama will mark Clinton's debut as an exec producer.
The book, published in March, follows the activists who led the decades-long fight to grant women the right to vote and sheds light on how close the battle to ratify the 19th Amendment really was. The book celebrates those who changed history and laid the foundation for the civil rights movement that came decades later.
After optioning the book, Amblin plans to adapt it as either a TV movie or a limited series. A writer is not yet attached. Amblin TV, a division of Spielberg's Amblin Partners, will shop The Woman's Hour to premium cable (think HBO, Showtime) or streaming platforms (a la Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Hulu). Clinton will exec produce alongside Amblin TV co-presidents Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey and author/journalist Weiss.
"At the heart of democracy lies the ballot box, and Elaine Weiss' unforgettable book tells the story of the female leaders who — in the face of towering economic, racial and political opposition — fought for and won American women's right to vote. Unfolding over six weeks in the summer of 1920, The Woman's Hour is both a page-turning drama and an inspiration for everyone, young and old, male and female, in these perilous times. So much could have gone wrong, but these American women would not take no for an answer: their triumph is our legacy to guard and emulate," Clinton said. "I am thrilled to be working with Elaine, Steven and everyone at Amblin Television on bringing this important project to audiences everywhere."
Sources say as Weiss was writing the book, she was struck by the parallels between the women's suffrage movement and the 2016 presidential election between Clinton and Donald Trump. It then became a priority for the author and journalist — whose work has appeared in multiple publications and on NPR — to get her book in Clinton's hands. Eventually, she met a bookstore owner who delivered The Woman's Hour to Clinton. The latter, sources say, loved the contemporary and relevant issues the book tackled and felt it would be an important story to tell on TV while also creating strong roles for women. Clinton called her attorney, Robert Barnett at Williams Connolly, and eventually met and hit it off with Weiss before calling frequent supporter Spielberg, who brought in Amblin TV.
The expectation is that Clinton will be actively involved in the search for a writer and eventually the script, director and casting.
The Woman's Hour arrives as women continue to battle for rights amid a political landscape in which male lawmakers have attempted to defund Planned Parenthood, among other efforts, and in a culture in which sexual misconduct has exposed how pervasive the problem is in every corner of society.
Clinton's TV efforts arrive as Barack and Michelle Obama recently inked a multiple-year deal to produce films and series with Netflix and as Bill Clinton is adapting his book The President Is Missing with James Patterson as a scripted drama for Showtime.
Clinton, who will guest-star in the upcoming fifth season premiere of CBS' Madam Secretary, is repped by Barnett and Michael O'Connor at Williams Connolly and Steven Burkow at Ziffren Brittenham. Weiss is repped by WME.