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NBC is developing a miniseries about the life of late-night talk-show host Johnny Carson.
The project, based on the upcoming Bill Zehme biography Carson the Magnificent: An Intimate Portrait, will cover the Tonight Show host’s three-decade run from 1962 to 1992, and will include his childhood in Nebraska, his life outside the limelight and friendships made during his career.
Casting for the key role will be announced at a later date.
Carson, who died in January 2005 at 79, has long been considered one of the most prolific talk-show hosts, having interviewed more than 22,000 guests on The Tonight Show on both coasts (New York City and Burbank, Calif.). Many comedians have cited him as a key inspiration.
Zehme, who penned a lengthy Esquire profile of Carson in 2002 and was production consultant on PBS’ Johnny Carson: King of Late Night documentary, and John Davies (A Comedy Salute to Andy Kaufman) will executive produce the project.
The news comes as NBC announced in late July that it was developing a slew of limited series, one based on Hillary Clinton and starring Diane Lane, an “updated remake” of Rosemary’s Baby, a new version of Stephen King‘s Tommyknockers and Mark Burnett‘s Plymouth. The network is also prepping for the high-profile live production of The Sound of Music, slated to air Dec. 5, starring Carrie Underwood as Maria.
This comes months after NBC hired ABC’s Quinn Taylor as its new longform programming head, as it looks to event programming in a television climate dominated by DVRs to gain more eyeballs, top-tier talent and prestige.
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