Hillary Rodham Clinton and Steven Spielberg’s women’s voting drama The Woman’s Hour officially has a home.
Following more than a year of deal-making, the drama based on the book The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote has landed at The CW. The network, a joint venture between CBS TV Studios and Warner Bros. TV, has optioned to adapt the drama as a seasonal anthology. The project marks Clinton’s debut as an exec producer on a scripted series.
The first season of the drama will be based on author Elaine Weiss’ book and follow the battle to ratify the 19th amendment. Each season will celebrate those who changed history and have strong contemporary reverberations in a bid for the series to appeal to today’s rising tide of young and politically active audiences.
While still in development, sources note that the drama landed at The CW more than a year ago after Spielberg’s Amblin in August 2018 optioned Weiss’ book and shopped the project to premium cable and streaming outlets. Clinton, sources say, was involved in the pitch meetings and helped to select writer Angelina Burnett (Halt and Catch Fire) to adapt the novel. Clinton is expected to continue to be closely involved in the series, offering input on decisions including casting and directing.
As The Hollywood Reporter exclusively reported at the time, as Weiss was writing the book, she was struck by the parallels between the women’s suffrage movement and the 2016 presidential election between Clinton and Donald Trump. It then became a priority for the author and journalist — whose work has appeared in multiple publications and on NPR — to get her book in Clinton’s hands. Eventually, she met a bookstore owner who delivered The Woman’s Hour to Clinton. The latter, sources say, loved the contemporary and relevant issues the book tackled and felt it would be an important story to tell on TV while also creating strong roles for women. Clinton called her attorney, Robert Barnett at Williams Connolly, and eventually met and hit it off with Weiss before calling frequent supporter Spielberg, who brought in Amblin TV.
At the time, Amblin had planned to adapt the novel as either a TV movie or limited series. The book offers a plethora of additional source material for subsequent seasons as it follows the activists who led the decades-long fight to grant women the right to vote and sheds light on how close the battle to ratify the 19th Amendment really was. The book celebrates those who changed history and laid the foundation for the civil rights movement that came decades later. (The 19th amendment marked its 100th anniversary this past August.)
“[E]verything takes a lot longer than you think it will. That’s one thing I’ve definitely learned,” Clinton told THR of the learning process that came with shopping The Woman’s Hour.
Clinton, Weiss, Amblin’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey will all exec produce alongside Burnett. Burnett, for her part, previously worked with Amblin TV on FX’s critical hit The Americans and counts Genius, Hannibal and Boss among her credits. After volunteering as an organizer during the 2008 primary election, Burnett was hired to run the Nevada Border State program for the 2008 general election. She has been organizing ever since. She’s repped by Manage-ment and Gang Tyre.
For Clinton, The Woman’s Hour represents her latest TV foray. The former secretary of state also teamed with Hulu for Hillary, a four-part docuseries featuring interviews with the former presidential candidate and dozens of her friends, colleagues, journalists and family members. Hulu is also developing Rodham, Curtis Sittenfeld’s best-selling novel that explores a world in which the former first lady never married Bill Clinton. (HRC is not attached.) Clinton is repped by Barnett and Michael O’Connor at Williams & Connolly and Ziffren Brittenham. Weiss is with WME.