'Wolf of Wall Street' Effect? TV Networks Investing in Finance-Themed Projects

A slew of projects are in the works at broadcast and cable networks, from Showtime's just-greenlighted hedge fund collusion drama "Billions" to CBS' untitled thriller about an Iraq vet turned hedge fund trader.
Andrew Ross Sorkin

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

With The Wolf of Wall Street topping $375 million worldwide, TV is looking to buy in. On March 13, Showtime greenlighted the hedge-fund collusion drama Billions, from The New York Times' DealBook editor Andrew Ross Sorkin, and broadcast sibling CBS is prepping an untitled thriller from executive producer John Cusack and Justified's Taylor Elmore starring Boardwalk Empire's Charlie Cox as an Iraq vet-turned-hedge-fund trader.

PHOTOS: Faces of Pilot Season 2014

Meanwhile, Fox Television Studios is shopping an adaptation of Kevin Roose's nonfiction best-seller Young Money as a potential drama series, with Burn Notice's Alfredo Barrios attached to write. Also in the works: Sony Pictures Television is adapting The Buy Side, based on the best-selling autobiogrpahical book by ex-Galleon Group trader Turney Duff with Sheldon Turner, Michael Dinner and Michael De Luca attached. Not to be outdone, the actual Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film), is teaming with Electus to shop a reality show featuring himself helping others who have hit rock bottom and are seeking redemption. 

"We've long believed that the world of Wall Street is fertile ground for a drama," says Sorkin, who with Billions co-creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Runner Runner, Runaway Jury) has been developing ideas in the Wall Street space for five years. "It is filled with colorful, complex characters and deep moral questions about the power of money, greed and corruption." 

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit