×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Penthouse Founder Bob Guccione’s Life Being Turned Into TV Series (EXCLUSIVE)

Penthouse founder Bob Guccione’s rise to the top of the media landscape and fall into financial ruin will be the subject of a new television series, Variety has learned.

Jerrick Media and Maven Pictures are teaming up on the project and are currently interviewing writers. The filmmakers say they are interested in providing a deeper understanding of Guccione, who they maintain was much more than just a pornographer.

“Bob Guccione was more of an intellectual,” said Rick Schwartz, co-founder of Jerrick. “He was a complicated guy.”

Schwartz says that Guccione’s Upper East Side mansion wasn’t a Big Apple equivalent of the Playboy mansion. Instead of hedonistic parties, Guccione would host salons with the likes of astronomer and author Carl Sagan or attorney Alan Dershowitz. In addition to producing Penthouse, Guccione invested in cold fusion, backed a science and science-fiction magazine entitled Omni, and released “Caligula,” a notorious epic that blended erotica, history, and a host of RADA trained actors such as Helen Mirren and Peter O’Toole cavorting around ancient Rome.

The Penthouse publisher also photographed the models and began his career as an artist and illustrator.

Guccione came onto Jerrick Media’s radar after co-founder Jeremy Frommer bought a group of storage lockers out of auction in New Jersey.

“There was this Japanese version of ‘Caligula,’ as well as all these old issues of Penthouse,” said Schwartz. “It turned out the storage locker belonged to Bob Guccione.

The partners spent the next three years buying up Guccione’s personal effects, including his personal manuscripts and slides.

Schwartz, whose credits include “The Departed” and “Black Swan,” and Frommer, who has worked on “Till Human Voices Wake Us,” will executive produce the project with Maven Pictures founders Trudie Styler (“Snatch”) and Celine Rattray (“Still Alice”).

The series will be told through the eyes of the women in Guccione’s life, charting his years as a struggling artist and cartoonist in London through the creation of Penthouse to his final years when his empire crumbled around him and he had to file for bankruptcy.

“It’s a meaty story,” said Schwartz, who notes that despite making a splash publishing pornography, Guccione championed women in his professional life, giving the likes of Vogue’s Anna Wintour their initial jobs.

Maven Pictures has previously produced “The Kids are All Right,” “American Honey,” and “Bernie.” Its upcoming credits include “Novitiate” with Melissa Leo and Margaret Qualley and “Kings” with Halle Berry and Daniel Craig.

Jerrick is a digital media and technology company focused on the development and marketing of branded digital content and e-commerce properties.

Given the amount of skin and sex in Guccione’s life, it’s a safe bet that the series won’t be on broadcast television.

“The plan is to do it on cable, Amazon, Netflix or somewhere where we can do it uncensored,” said Schwartz.

More TV

  • Bob GreenblattCreating Great Characters: Dick Wolf

    Bob Greenblatt on WarnerMedia Streaming Strategy: 'The Assets are Undeniable'

    CANNES — AT&T is ready for battle in the streaming wars. The new parent company of HBO and Warner Bros. has moved quickly to respond to consumer demand by marshaling its forces behind the launch next spring of HBO Max, WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told a crowd of international TV and digital executives here [...]

  • Roberto Gomez Bolanos Mexican actor Roberto

    Chespirito Media Universe in Development from Grupo Chespirito, Thr3 Media Group

    Mexican production companies Grupo Chespirito and Thr3 Media Group have come to terms on a deal to co-produce multi-media content and create the Chespirito Media Universe based on the characters and world of Mexico and Latin America’s most iconic TV creator, director, producer and actor, Chespirito. Thr3 Media Group was launched in January 2018 by [...]

  • Bastian-and-Fabienne_2btube-Office-1

    2btube Adds Lacoproductora to Facebook, YouTube Originals Alliances

    CANNES —  Fast-driving from a huge digital media publishing base into the creation and production of premium content for global platforms and beyond, top Spanish-language digital native media group 2btube has clinched a wide-ranging production partnership with José Miguel Contreras’ Madrid-based Lacoproductora. The deal comes fast on the heels of 2btube’s production alliance with Facebook [...]

  • LA-CHICA-QUE-LIMPIA-PICTURE

    Spain's Fasten Films Nabs Remake Rights to Argentine Series 'The Cleaning Lady' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Barcelona-based company Fasten Films has optioned Spanish and Portuguese adaptation rights to Argentine suspense series “La chica que limpia” (“The Cleaning Lady”). The deal was negotiated with Argentine distributors RM Vistar and GlowStar, who jointly handle the format’s international sales. A Mexican remake of the series is being produced by Turner Latin America, alongside BTF [...]

  • Motiv: Max ConzeFoto: © ProSiebenSat.1/Martin SaumweberDieses

    ProSiebenSat.1 Boss Max Conze Unfazed By the Invasion of the Digital Streaming Giants

    Max Conze, CEO of German broadcast company ProSiebenSat.1 since June last year, appeared relatively relaxed about the prospect of the coming invasion of new subscription streaming players like Disney Plus into his territory when speaking to journalists at TV market and conference Mipcom in Cannes Tuesday. “Disney will not lock away all their content,” he [...]

  • Irmaos Freitas

    Amazon Prime Video takes Turner’s ‘Freitas Brothers’

    CANNES — In yet another – and significant – Latin America distribution deal for the now highly active OTT giant, Amazon Prime Video has acquired Brazilian and pan-Spanish-speaking Latin American SVOD rights to Turner Latin America’s highly anticipated “Freitas Brothers.” The announcement was made late Tuesday by Turner Latin America at Cannes Mipcom TV and [...]

  • Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, Cory Booker,

    Nonsense Ellen DeGeneres Question Derails an Otherwise Substantive Democratic Debate (Column)

    The fourth Democratic debate was dangerously close to being substantive. For almost three (3!) hours, the twelve (12!) candidates onstage tackled questions on foreign policy, reproductive rights, health care, gun control, big tech, and the opioid crisis. While the other debates — and indeed, the entire 2016 presidential campaign — have been marked by meme-able [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content