4:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Milo Ventimiglia to Play Evel Knievel in USA Network Limited Series
Emmy nominee Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us) is expanding his TV universe.
Ventimiglia has signed on to star in and executive produce the USA Network limited series Evel, based on the life of the late 1970s-era daredevil Evel Knievel.
The project, which is set to begin production in 2020, chronicles Knievel as he prepares for his greatest death-defying feat — the legendary Snake River Canyon jump in 1974. The series is described as a portrait of a complex man living the American dream, juggling meteoric celebrity and raising a family — and the very real probability that his next jump will kill him.
Etan Frankel (Shameless, Sorry for Your Loss) will pen the script and also executive produce the series, which hails from Universal Content Productions. McG, Mary Viola and Steven Bello of Wonderland Sound and Vision, Alex Gartner, Charles Roven and Topher Rhys-Lawrence of Atlas Entertainment will also exec produce, alongside Ventimiglia and his DiVide Pictures patner Russ Cundiff. The project hails from outside Ventimiglia's overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television.
"USA Network is known for big event series that celebrate heroes, rebels and icons, and what could be bigger than the story of one of the greatest thrill seekers of all time?" said USA Network and Syfy president Chris McCumber. "The incredible life and journey of Evel Knievel lends itself to a dramatic retelling, and we are excited to be partnering with Milo, McG, UCP, Atlas and Wonderland to bring this iconic American tale to our viewers."
Knievel's September 1974 Snake River Canyon jump failed, and was one of the last stunts for the daredevil. He survived the jump — on a steam-powered rocket — with only a broken nose. (Watch video of the jump, below.)
This is the latest TV role for Ventimiglia, who is Emmy-nominated again for his leading role on NBC's time-twisting family drama This Is Us. His credits include Gilmore Girls, Heroes, American Dreams and Mob City. On the feature side, he most recently starred in The Art of Racing in the Rain. Ventimiglia is repped by WME, Management 360 and McKuin Frankel.
For USA Network, Evel becomes the latest drama to join the NBCUniversal-backed basic cabler. The network's scripted roster includes the Bravo import Dirty John (an anthology whose second-season subject remains under wraps); Brave New World; Dare Me; Briarpatch; The Sinner; Treadstone; The Purge; Queen of the South; and the Suits spinoff Pearson. USA Network this year is saying farewell to the staples Suits and Mr. Robot.