6:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Seth MacFarlane's First NBCU Show: 'The Winds of War' Limited Series (Exclusive)
Seven months after exiting his longtime home at 20th Television for NBCUniversal, Seth MacFarlane has set up his first project under his company's $200 million overall deal.
The Family Guy creator is adapting author Herman Wouk's The Winds of War and War and Remembrance as a limited series. Universal Content Productions is the studio on the drama and will shop the series to broadcast and cable networks as well as streaming outlets.
MacFarlane and Seth Fisher (The Alienist, Saints and Strangers) will co-write the script and exec produce. MacFarlane's Fuzzy Door president Erica Huggins will also exec produce The Winds of War, which tells the epic story of one American family's turbulent voyage across the continents and across the years that spanned World War II.
"I can’t think of a more exciting project with which to launch my creative partnership with UCP than Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War," MacFarlane said. "I've been a devoted fan of Wouk’s WWII epic for decades, and its depiction of small-scale human endurance in the face of large-scale global upheaval has never been more relevant than it is today. In my very first meeting with [UCP president] Dawn Olmstead, we connected over this project — I learned that she herself comes from a Naval family — and to bring it to fruition under her stewardship and that of her UCP team will be a perfect fit for all. We can’t wait to get started."
The Winds of War is one of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Wouk's multiple books focused on World War II. First published in 1971, it was followed by 1978's War and Remembrance. MacFarlane's take will be the second time Winds of War has been adapted for television. ABC adapted it as an 18-hour, seven-part miniseries from Dan Curtis that starred Robert Mitchum, Ali MacGraw and Jan-Michael Vincent. It was nominated for 11 Emmys, including best limited series, supporting actor (Ralph Bellamy) and supporting actress (Polly Bergen), taking home wins in three technical categories.
"We are thrilled to announce The Winds of War (and War and Remembrance) as the first of many projects we are developing with Fuzzy Door. This is an epic story of valor, perseverance, survival and family that will be retold through a current lens," Olmstead said. “I’m very excited about our partnership with Seth as he looks to expand his oeuvre in the next phase of his career.”
MacFarlane's Fuzzy Door inked a five-year, nine-figure deal with NBCUniversal in January, ending the prolific producer's decades-long run with Fox-turned-Disney's 20th Television. Under the agreement, the company will work with Olmstead's UCP and Pearlena Igbokwe's Universal Television to develop new projects for both studios. It was the first sweeping pact since Bonnie Hammer took on oversight of NBCU's Studios Group, comprising both UCP and UTV. At the time of the deal, sources told THR that he was interested in starring in and producing musicals, political dramas and anthologies around historic events in addition to working on new animated projects.
"We are thrilled to have our first project with UCP be something that exemplifies Fuzzy Door’s intentions that we are looking to take risks, think outside the box and find stories that are urgent and entertaining,” Huggins said.
Fuzzy Door's TV roster includes Fox's Family Guy, TBS' American Dad and Hulu import The Orville, on which MacFarlane also stars. The company will also see its National Geographic show, Cosmos, air in the fall on Fox.
MacFarlane is repped by manager Joy Fehily and Jackoway Austen. Fisher is with Aperture Entertainment and Gang Tyre.