Naomi Watts to Play Gretchen Carlson in Showtime's Roger Ailes Series

The Oscar nominee will star alongside Russell Crowe in the eight-episode limited series about the Fox News founder.
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Naomi Watts

Showtime has landed another big name for its Roger Ailes limited series: Naomi Watts has signed on to play former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson.

The Oscar nominee will star opposite Russell Crowe, who is playing Ailes, the late founder of Fox News.

The eight-episode Showtime project is based on Gabriel Sherman's book about Ailes, The Loudest Voice in the Room. It will primarily focus on the last decade of Ailes' life — he died in May 2017 — including sexual harassment claims that Carlson and other women at Fox News brought against him.

In July 2016, Carlson sued Ailes, claiming she was fired at Fox News after turning away Ailes' sexual advances. A number of other claims soon surfaced, leading to Ailes' resignation from the news network. Carlson and Ailes settled the lawsuit in September of that year.

The limited series marks a return to Showtime for Watts after she starred in Twin Peaks: The Return in 2017. 

A feature film about Ailes and the women of Fox News is also in the works. Watts' longtime friend Nicole Kidman is set to play Carlson in that project.

Sherman and Oscar winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) co-wrote the first episode of the upcoming series. Emmy nominee Kari Skogland (The Handmaid's Tale) will direct the first two episodes. Production is set to begin in November. 

Showtime is co-producing the Ailes series with Blumhouse Television, which produced HBO's Sharp Objects. McCarthy, Crowe, Jason Blum, Alex Metcalf, Blumhouse's Marci Wiseman and Jeremy Gold and Liza Chasin are all executive producers.

Watts is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.