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Producer Michael London has signed a first-look deal with Lionsgate TV, and his first project at the studio is a high-profile one.
London (FX’s Snowfall, Sideways, Milk) and Shannon Gaulding, president of production at the former’s Groundswell Productions, are developing a limited series about the rise and fall of Jerry Falwell Jr., the former president of Liberty University and son of the prominent evangelist and conservative activist. Lionsgate has optioned Gabriel Sherman’s Vanity Fair profile of Falwell, which he’ll adapt for TV.
The multiyear deal will also have London and Groundswell developing other scripted series for Lionsgate.
“There’s nothing better than having creative partners who are truly creative, as well as collaborative and smart,” London said in a statement. “The Lionsgate team is all of those things and more. Shannon Gaulding and I are excited to jump into this new venture focusing on the kind of smart, singular and entertaining television that both companies stand for.”
Added Scott Herbst, head of scripted development and executive vp of Lionsgate TV, “Michael is not only a prolific producer with a track record of excellence across both film and television, but he is also an expert in bringing impactful stories to the screen. We have been such a fan of his from afar for too long and now we get to work together. We look forward to working with Groundswell Productions to create compelling and inspiring content for television audiences globally.”
Falwell was a prominent supporter of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and presidency and a key figure in the overlapping worlds of evangelical Christianity and conservative politics before a scandal that involved a pool boy, Giancarlo Granda, who said he had a years-long affair with Falwell’s wife and that the Falwells gave him in part ownership of a Miami hotel, among other benefits, in exchange for his silence. Falwell resigned as president of Liberty University, which his father founded, in August 2020.
London founded Groundswell after serving as executive vp production at 20th Century Fox. The company is currently in production on the sixth and final season of FX’s Snowfall; Groundswell’s productions also include Showtime’s SMILF, HBO’s movie Confirmation and Syfy’s Magicians. The company is repped by WME and attorney Michael Schenkman.
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