Network teams with Kirk Ellis on project

AMC has teamed with “John Adams” scribe Kirk Ellis to develop a miniseries about the 1920s Teapot Dome scandal.

Project will be adapted from Laton McCartney’s book “The Teapot Dome Scandal.” DreamWorks TV co-heads Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank will exec produce with Ellis, though it’s still unclear whether the project will formally be a DreamWorks production. Falvey and Frank previously worked with Ellis on the epic TNT mini “Into the West.”

Story revolves around the scandal that erupted around members of President Warren G. Harding’s administration, specifically, their dealings with oil tycoons and the leasing of oil-rich federal lands in Wyoming. A Senate investigation raised the veil on corruption in the Harding administration.

What’s not to like here? Crooks, conmen, wildcatters, disgruntled secretaries and mistresses, yellow journalists and a philandering president,” Ellis said.

Project is tentatively titled “Black Gold: The Teapot Dome Scandal.”

Joel Stillerman, AMC’s senior veep of programming, production and original content, unveiled the “Black Gold” project Saturday during the cabler’s sesh at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena.

Stillerman said the cabler is eyeing a summer start for its next original series, the intricate conspiracy thriller “Rubicon,” which stars James Badge Dale (“The Departed”). Stillerman didn’t get specific but it seems likely the drama from Warner Horizon would be paired in some way with the fourth season bow of “Mad Men.”

The third season of “Breaking Bad” — which received a warm reception from the crix during a lively panel sesh with creator-exec producer Vince Gilligan and stars Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn and Bob Odenkirk — will bow March 21.

Meanwhile, AMC is dabbling in shortform comedy for the first time with a series of Web shorts starring Cheri Oteri as an inept therapist. The “Life Coach” shorts will run on AMC’s website, and they’ll be sprinkled into some of AMC’s movie telecasts, including upcoming runs of “Rain Man,” “The Queen,” “Stepford Wives” and “Shallow Hal.” CNN’s Nancy Grace, Lewis Black, Kathleen Madigan and Mark Linn Baker are among those who make appearances in the segs.

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