Showtime is developing “The Ali Summit,” a civil-rights limited series about Muhammad Ali objecting to the Vietnam War draft, Variety has learned.
“The Ali Summit” captures a seminal moment in the civil-rights movement: the gathering of 12 of the nation’s top black intellectuals and athletes to first vet and then ultimately support Ali’s conscientious objection to the Vietnam War draft, 50 years ago in 1967. The series will explore the intersection of civil rights and sports that continues to resonate today, and tracks the FBI’s crusade against Ali, Jim Brown and other black leaders in the lead-up to Ali’s arrest for draft evasion at the peak of his boxing career.
Brown will serve as an executive producer on the project.
Jeff and Michael Zimbalist will serve as writers and directors on the limited series. They will also serve as executive producers, along with Brown, Monique Brown, Jeff Kirschenbaum and Joe Roth.
The movement depicted in “The Ali Summit” has been documented as a revolutionary moment in history with William C. Rhoden of “The New York Times” writing in 2014, “The moment itself would be remembered as the first — and last — time that so many African-American athletes at that level came together to support a controversial cause.”
The development of the TV project comes less than a year after Ali’s death in June 2016. The legendary boxer died at the age of 74, after suffering a respiratory ailment, following a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.