On the day of the book’s release, National Geographic Channel and Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions have announced that they are partnering to bring an adaptation of Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s “Killing Reagan” to the small-screen.
The move seems like a no-brainer as it continues what has been a successful collaboration for the channel and the producers. The Scott Free-produced versions of the three previous books in the series — “Killing Lincoln,” “Killing Kennedy” and “Killing Jesus” — were the network’s three most-watched programs in history. Both “Kennedy” and “Jesus” received Emmy nominations for outstanding TV movie.
“Scott Free has had great working experiences with the National Geographic Channel and Bill O’Reilly from the outset, so we’re really pleased that we can continue the relationship,” Scott said. “We’re very proud of the programs we have produced together and look forward to collaborating once more.”
While the previous projects all dealt with the deaths of their subjects, “Killing Reagan” explores how John Hinkley’s 1981 assassination attempt impacted the Gipper’s presidency. It also chronicles Reagan’s early years in Hollywood through his time in the California governor’s mansion and finally at the White House.
“Over the past three years, Scott Free Productions and National Geographic Channels have been incredible partners in bringing my books to life, and I’m confident ‘Killing Reagan’ will be no different,” O’Reilly said. “Their formula for translating these stories from the page to the screen, using A-list talent both in front of and behind the camera, has proven to be successful with both audiences and the industry at large.”
Nat Geo has been raising its profile, as of late. It will soon premiere its ambitious scripted miniseries “Saints and Strangers” about early Plymouth, Mass. settlers. Last week, it announced that it will air a second season of the environment-themed documentary “Years of Living Dangerously” that will include segments from David Letterman, Jack Black, James Cameron and more. (The first season aired on Showtime with a different cast). Other deals include tapping Alex Gibney to explore our water crisis with the doc “Parched” and the Morgan Freeman-hosted show that explores the question of the divine with “The Story of God.”
“Our audience has proven to have a real appetite for compelling, authentic stories. As we prepare to air our four-hour movie event ‘Saints & Strangers’ later this fall, we are excited to continue our momentum in the scripted genre by adding this fourth collaboration with Bill O’Reilly and Scott Free to our slate,” said Tim Pastore, NGC president of original programming and production. “No matter what political party you side with, there is no doubt Ronald Reagan’s presidency has had a lasting impact on global policies in our modern world. Presenting this story, especially during what’s sure to be a heated election year, provides an opportunity to not only look back, but to see where it has brought us today.”
“Killing Reagan” will be produced for National Geographic Channels by Scott Free Productions. In addition to Scott, exec producers are David Zucker, Mary Lisio and O’Reilly. Clayton Kreuger is co-exec producing. It will air globally on National Geographic Channels in 2016.