Turner Classic Movies is diving deep into Hollywood’s past in ordering a 10-hour docu series on the history of Hollywood moguls from Bill Haber’s Ostar Prods.
“Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood,” skedded to bow next year, will primarily focus on the lives and legacies of filmdom’s founders, including such enigmatic figures as Carl Laemmle, Louis B. Mayer, Darryl Zanuck, William Fox, the Warner brothers, Samuel Goldwyn and Adolph Zukor. It will also examine the pre-Hollywood era and the work of such film pioneers as Thomas Edison and the Lumiere brothers.
Jon Wilkman, a veteran docu producer and former CBS News producer, is writing and producing the segs. Haber is exec producing for Ostar and TCM.
Michael Wright, exec veep and head of programming for TNT, TBS and TCM, said the project is a natural fit for the classic pic cabler, which is marking its 15th anniversary this year.
“The story of the birth of the film industry has resonance for the changes that showbiz is undergoing today with the influx of new technologies,” Wright noted.
Haber has been trying to get a project about Hollywood’s golden-age moguls off the ground for 15 years. He initially pitched Wright on the idea of doing it as a narrative telepic, the concept quickly shifted to a docu format. Wilkman is already knee-deep in research and interviews, Haber said.
“We’re telling the story of Lumiere to Lew Wasserman,” said Haber, the former CAA chieftain whose Ostar banner produced Broadway’s “The History Boys” and “Monty Python’s Spamalot.” “For 15 years I’ve been wanting to do something about the men who made this business.”