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The Empire co-creator is attached to executive produce The Spook Who Sat by the Door, a spy drama that has been ordered to pilot at the Disney-backed basic cable network.
Leigh Dana Jackson (Raising Dion, Foundation) penned the script and will serve as showrunner on the drama, which is based on the novel by Sam Greenlee. Gerard McMurray (Burning Sands) will exec produce and direct the pilot. Daniels will exec produce the potential series via his overall deal with Disney’s 20th Television. The book was optioned through Daniels’ inclusion fund. Lee Daniels Entertainment president Marc Velez will also exec produce.
“The Spook Who Sat by the Door was my dad’s favorite book,” Daniels said Monday in a release announcing the news. “He’d be so proud that I’m doing this and even prouder that I’m doing this with Gerard and Dana — two bold and brilliant Black storytellers.”
Greenlee’s novel, which inspired the 1973 feature starring Lawrence Cook and Janet League, explores the fictional story of Dan Freeman, the first Black CIA officer hired by the agency in the late 1960s. The story follows how he was recruited as part of an affirmative action program and how, following a training process, was “left by the door” as a token of the CIA’s “racial equality.” The book, first published in 1969, has been translated into several languages and won the Sunday Times Book of the Year prize the year it was released.
The Spook Who Sat by the Door is Daniels’ latest endeavor for Disney under his overall deal with the media giant. The prolific writer-director also is prepping a Black-focused reboot of The Wonder Years for ABC, has BET-turned-Hulu comedy Ms. Pat in the works for the streamer and is prepping Our Kind of People for Fox. Next up, Daniels has The United States vs. Billie Holiday due Feb. 26 on Hulu.
Should Spook move forward, it would join a roster of originals at FX — the former home to critically praised spy drama The Americans — that also includes American Horror Story, American Crime Story, Mayans, Pose, Snowfall and the upcoming Shogun and Rolling Stones limited series, among several others.
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