HBO Acquires Martin Scorsese Doc ‘Public Speaking’

PBS picks up director’s ‘A Letter to Elia’ to air as part of American Master’s series

HBO picked up the U.S. TV rights to "Public Speaking," a documentary about the life of writer Fran Lebowitz directed by Martin Scorsese and produced by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter.

In fact, it was a very good day for Scorsese documentaries. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and THIRTEEN’s “American Masters” series also announced that they have acquired "A Letter to Elia,"

Scorsese's new documentary exploring the life  of Oscar-winning director Elia Kazan. Kazan directed "On the Waterfront" and "A Streetcar Named Desire." His decision to name names as part of the House Committee on Un-American Activities investigations made him a polarizing figure in film history.

"Public Speaking" will debut on the  cable network in November.

Lebowitz is a New York-based author who first entered the public eye as a columnist fro Andy Warhol's Interview magazine in the 70's. She is perhaps best known for her 1978 essay collection "Metropolitan Life."   

Lebowitz and Margaret Bodde are also serving as producers on "Public Speaking." Ted Griffin and John Hayes executive produced the documentary.

Sheila Nevins, president of HBO documentary films, announced the acquisition Tuesday.

Scorsese is also an executive producer of the HBO's upcoming Atlantic City crime drama "Boardwalk Empire." He directed the pilot and said in August that he "would like very much" to direct more episodes of the series if his schedule permits.

"A Letter to Elia," produced by Scorsese and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, was co-financed and executive produced by Stone Douglass and Taylor Materne’s Far Hills Pictures. WME Global assembled financing and brokered the distribution deal to PBS and Fox.

"A Letter to Elia" will air nationally on PBS as part of the “American Masters” series on October 4, 2010, accompanied by a companion short documentary featuring some of the country’s most noteworthy actors and directors talking about Kazan’s influence on their work and on the American film industry.