Russell Crowe will play Fox News founder and chairman Roger Ailes in a Showtime miniseries that aims to give a behind the scenes look at the most widely watched cable-news network.
Showtime has been developing the series since April 2017, basing it on a biography by Gabriel Sherman, “The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News – and Divided a Country.” Tom McCarthy, who wrote and directed the Oscar-winning film Spotlight, is co-writing the series and serving as an executive producer.
Crowe, who an Oscar for Gladiator and also received nominations for A Beautiful Mind and The Insider, retweeted Showtime’s announcement of the news Monday morning in between his ongoing commentary about rugby and the World Cup.
According to Deadline, the eight episode series will be told through multiple points of view and focus on the last decade of Ailes’ life, while flashing back on formative events in his life. The producers are hoping the series will help viewers understand the events leading to Donald Trump’s political rise. Ailes died in May 2017.
“In many ways, the collision between the media and politics has come to define the world we live in today,” said David Nevins, CEO of Showtime Networks. “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.”
Former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson tweeted her excitement about the show. In 2016, Carlson received $20 million and a rare apology from Fox News after settling a sexual-harassment lawsuit. Carlson alleged that Ailes made provocative comments to her during meetings, which she reportedly recorded on her phone. An internal investigation that followed her lawsuit, along with other sexual-harassment lawsuits, led to Ailes’ departure.
Ailes built up Fox News from scratch starting in 1996, after he left NBC following a management dispute. From the beginning, Ailes maintained that the cable news network would “restore objectivity,” adopting the “Fair and Balanced” tagline that the networks’ critics have mocked over the years. Before NBC, Ailes had worked as a media consultant for Republican candidates such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.