Blair pic project set for Showtime

Maas to write, exec produce 'Jayson'

This article was corrected on October 23, 2003.

Showtime is developing an original movie centered on the rise and fall of disgraced New York Times journo Jayson Blair, net entertainment prexy Robert Greenblatt announced.

Pay cabler is developing the tentatively titled “The Jayson Blair Project” with Jon Maas, who will write and exec produce the project. Maas wrote and produced Showtime’s “The Last Debate,” centered on the world of Washington politicos and jaded journos.

Sharon Byrens is the executive in charge of the project for the network.

“Most films based on the world of journalism focus on how a reporter gets his story against amazing odds or even how they put their lives in peril. This film will explore what made Jayson Blair so self-destructive and how his actions single-handedly destroyed his journalism career,” Greenblatt said.

Blair will have no part creatively or financially in the film, Maas said. Blair recently inked a book deal for his autobiographical “Burning Down My Master’s House” with New Millennium Press.

Maas says the film will be based in part on articles written by former Newsweek reporter Seth Mnookin. No production date or casting has been announced.

“The day the story hit, I was so intrigued by it. That this kid had interned at the Times and then became a reporter at 27. The world was his oyster,” Maas said. “Just watching his behavior since the news got out has been fascinating in a black comedy way. His story is a movie.”

Maas previously worked as director of programs at NBC supervising series including “Late Night With David Letterman” and “Saturday Night Live.”