2:15pm PT by Rick Porter
Showtime's Roger Ailes Series: All the Details (So Far) on 'The Loudest Voice'
Showtime is training its spotlight on one of the biggest media figures of the 21st century: Fox News founder Roger Ailes.
The premium cable network is in production on a limited series called The Loudest Voice, which will focus primarily on the last decade of Ailes' life, his influence on U.S. politics and the sexual harassment scandal that led to his ouster.
The star-studded cast is headed by Russell Crowe and Naomi Watts. Bookmark this page for developments on the series, and see below for the cast and their real-life counterparts.
The Loudest Voice is based on Gabriel Sherman's best-selling book The Loudest Voice in the Room, which grew out of his reporting on Ailes and Fox News for New York magazine and for which he interviewed more than 600 people.
Sherman co-wrote the first episode with showrunner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight). The Showtime/Blumhouse Television production is executive produced by Crowe, McCarthy, Jason Blum, showrunner Alex Metcalf (Sharp Objects), Marci Wiseman, Jeremy Gold, Liza Chasin and Kari Skogland, who is directing the first two episodes.
Per Showtime, The Loudest Voice will use Ailes as a conduit for helping to explain the current political climate: "To understand the events that led to the rise of Donald Trump, one must understand Ailes. The upcoming limited series takes on that challenge, focusing primarily on the past decade, in which Ailes arguably became the Republican Party's de facto leader, while also touching on defining events in Ailes' life, including an initial meeting with Richard Nixon on the set of The Mike Douglas Show that gave birth to Ailes' political career and the sexual harassment accusations and settlements that brought his Fox News reign to an end. The seven-episode series aims to shed light on the psychology that drives the political process from the top down."
"Roger's one of those larger-than-life American figures who has so profoundly influenced our country in ways that most people don't understand," Metcalf told The Hollywood Reporter. "Without Roger Ailes, there may be no tea party. And without Roger Ailes, there is definitely no Donald Trump."
Russell Crowe as Roger Ailes
The Oscar winner will go under heavy makeup to play Ailes, who guided Fox News from its launch in 1996 to become one of cable's top-rated networks and a hugely influential force in the conservative political sphere.
Naomi Watts as Gretchen Carlson
Former Fox News anchor Carlson sued Ailes in 2016, claiming he fired her after she rejected his sexual advances. The suit was settled, but after a number of other women came forward, Ailes resigned from the network. (Watts' longtime friend Nicole Kidman is set to play Carlson in a feature film about Ailes and Fox News.)
Sienna Miller as Beth Ailes
Miller (Live by Night, American Sniper) plays Ailes' wife, who raised their son and edited a small newspaper in New York's Hudson Valley while Ailes built Fox News. She was a staunch defender of her husband until and after his death in 2017.
Simon McBurney as Rupert Murdoch
McBurney (The Theory of Everything) will play media titan Murdoch, who hired Ailes to build Fox News.
Annabelle Wallis as Laurie Luhn
Luhn was the network's head of booking — and also became involved in an abusive relationship with Ailes, according to Sherman's reporting. Luhn has filed a lawsuit against Showtime alleging the series will portray her as an accomplice to Ailes' harassment of women rather than a victim.
Josh Stamberg as Bill Shine
Shine rose from a producer on Hannity & Colmes in the early days of Fox News to head of programming during Ailes' tenure and was named co-president of the network following Ailes' departure. He too was named in several sexual harassment suits before leaving the network in 2017. He briefly served as White House communications director before moving on to the Trump re-election campaign.
Joe Cortese as Roger Stone
Veteran actor Cortese (Green Book) will guest star in one episode as Stone, the former Nixon operative and lobbyist for Donald Trump now charged in the Robert Mueller investigation.
Seth MacFarlane, Aleksa Palladino, Josh Charles
Family Guy creator MacFarlane will play Brian Lewis, Fox News' former head of public relations and an Ailes confidant who was fired from the network in 2013 for breach of contract. Palladino (Boardwalk Empire) will play Ailes' longtime assistant, Judy LaTerza. Charles (The Good Wife) will recur as Casey Close, Carlson's husband, who initially tries to reassure her that her situation at Fox News isn't as bad as she thinks.
The Loudest Voice will premiere June 30 on Showtime. Watch a teaser below.