Russell Crowe has been cast as Roger Ailes in Showtime’s untitled limited series about the late chairman and CEO of Fox News, which the network confirmed it’s picked up for eight episodes.
The project is based on New York Magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman’s best-selling book on Ailes, “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” which details Ailes’ own rise to power and how he built Fox News into the cable news behemoth it is today.
“In many ways, the collision between the media and politics has come to define the world we live in today,” Showtime president and CEO David Nevins said in a statement. “We’ve seen this phenomenon depicted on screen as far back as the story of Charles Foster Kane, and it finds contemporary embodiment in the rise and fall of Roger Ailes. With Russell Crowe in the lead role, this limited series promises to be a defining story for this era.”
This will be Crowe’s first-ever starring role on the small screen. Previously he’s made spot appearances in international series like “Republic of Doyle,” “Police Rescue” and the Australian soap opera “Neighbours.”
The Showtime series will focus primarily on the past decade in which Ailes arguably became the Republican Party’s de facto leader, while flashing back to defining events in Ailes’ life, including an initial meeting with Richard Nixon on the set of “The Mike Douglas Show” that gave birth to Ailes’ political career.
The series will also address the sexual harassment accusations and monetary settlements that brought his Fox News reign. Ailes’ tenure at the network ended in July 2016 in disgrace following a lawsuit filed by former “Real Story” host Gretchen Carlson, who accused her erstwhile boss of sexual harassment.
More women followed Carlson with similar allegations against Ailes. He died in May 2017 at the age of 77.
Sherman co-wrote the first episode with “Spotlight” director Tom McCarthy, who will executive produce alongside Jason Blum. The project is a co-production from Showtime and Blumhouse Television, which originally optioned the rights to Sherman’s book and brought the project to Showtime, and is managing physical production.
The Showtime limited series is one of two projects based on the former head of Fox News. Annapurna Pictures is developing a feature film about the sexual misconduct allegations aimed at Ailes, casting Charlize Theron as former Fox News host Megyn Kelly.