It must be tough being a former President of the United States. You literally have your whole life after your term to literally do nothing if you so choose. President Bill Clinton isn’t having any of that, as he is writing a new fiction novel with prolific author James Patterson called THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING. Before the book has even been released — it won’t be out until June 2018 — there was a bidding war for the property from every single direction–movies, TV, streaming.
It looks like Showtime is being very aggressive in the projects they pick up lately, as they’ve moved forward with a straight-to-series order for a show based on the Clinton-Patterson book.
If it wasn’t obvious from the title, The President is Missing is a thriller about the disappearance of a sitting U.S. president. Having Clinton as a co-writer means Pattinson has highly detailed insight from someone who has actually held office and knows all the intricacies of being president.
Clinton and Patterson had been setting up meetings all over Hollywood to shop the rights with a 10-page watermarked proposal, with THR reporting that they met with J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg, George Clooney and Clooney’s producer friend Steve Bing.
The big question is who will be writing and running the show for Showtime, as that will make a huge difference in the tone, as well as how many episodes it might be. Casting should also be interesting, as a lot of the agencies will be pushing their older male stars on the coveted lead role of the President.
It also will have to avoid comparisons to Olympus Has Fallen and the other movies in that series, which also involves a President in peril, without having the insight of a former President behind them.
Showtime will be the sole studio on the series, and it’s said that CBS CEO Leslie Moonves was integral on getting Clinton and Patterson to go with CBS. Patterson has already been working with CBS Corp. through his deal with CBS Television Studios that has produced Zoo and Instint.
The President is Missing is the third book from Clinton since leaving office but also the first one that will be adapted into other media. (The History Channel has picked up a drama about Clinton’s impeachment, though.) It will be Patterson’s ninth adaptation and likely the first thriller he’s co-written with a former president.
Showtime has been keeping busy as they handed out a straight-to-series order for Jim Carrey’s comedy Kidding last week, and it’s rumored they’re doing a new show with Jim Strouse and Jessica Williams of The Incredible Jessica James.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor