11:14am PT by Lesley Goldberg, Andy Lewis
Michael Wolff's 'Fire and Fury' to Become TV Series (Exclusive)
Michael Wolff's controversial Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is coming to television.
Endeavor Content — the financing and sales arm formed in October between sister companies William Morris Endeavor and IMG — has purchased film and television rights to the No. 1 best-selling book. The massive deal is said to be in the seven-figure range. Endeavor Content plans to adapt the book as a TV series. A network is not yet attached, as Endeavor will now begin shopping the project.
Wolff will executive produce the series, with veteran Channel 4 and BBC executive Michael Jackson — now CEO of indie producer Two Cities Television — also on board to produce.
Fire and Fury, which tells the inside story of Donald Trump's first year as president based on Wolff's exclusive access to the White House, has been the publishing sensation of 2018. The book had attracted little attention since it was first announced in November. But earlier this month, The Guardian leaked news from the heavily embargoed book and authorized excerpts in New York and a column in The Hollywood Reporter — where Wolff serves as a columnist — created a sensation. Trump attacked both the book and former adviser Steve Bannon, who was one of Wolff's principal sources. Bannon later stepped down from Breitbart News in the aftermath of the publication of his comments in the book.
Interest in the book surged, and publisher Henry Holt moved up the publication date from Jan. 9 to Jan. 5 after White House officials attempted to stop its release. Most bookstores sold out in minutes, with some opening at midnight to meet demand. Ebook and audiobook sales were huge (more than 250,000 and 100,000, respectively). Fire and Fury debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, based only on the first two days of sales. In less than a week, the publisher reported more than 1.4 million hardcovers on order and 700,000 copies shipped, making it the fastest-selling nonfiction book in the company's history.
To date, rights to the book have been sold in 32 countries. It is currently the best-selling book of any genre worldwide. (A Spanish-language edition is set for Feb. 28, with subsequent takes in Arabic, Albanian, Portuguese, Bulgarian, Japanese, French, German and other languages also planned.)
Fire and Fury comes to the small screen after HBO canceled a planned series based on the 2016 election in what was poised to be a Game Change sequel of sorts. The pay cabler scrapped the project after sexual harassment allegations emerged regarding source material co-author Mark Halperin, who was poised to pen the script alongside John Heilemann. That opened the door for a Trump tell-all, with demand high for Fire and Fury given Wolff's cinematic writing and fly-on-the-wall detail.
Fire and Fury marks the largest deal to date for Endeavor Content. The company has a pact with Peter Chernin's Chernin Entertainment (which has already led to two projects at Apple) as well as a feature with Michael B. Jordan.
Attorney Kevin Morris negotiated the deal on Wolff's behalf.