×
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

  • Series Mania: Q & A with

    Series Mania: ‘Hierro’ as ‘Southern Noir’ and an Industry Groundbreaker

    LILLE, France —  Banijay Rights-sold “Hierro” begins with sea, land, air and fire: Shots of the stunning volcanic isle of El Hierro, the most westerly point of Spain’s Canary Islands, with its black basalt rock, brown iron-rich gravel, white waves pummeling the coast, trees trunks twisted by wind and lava, a juniper bent double by [...]

  • Shekhar Kapur to Direct 'Ibis' Trilogy

    Shekhar Kapur to Direct 'Ibis' Trilogy for Endemol Shine (EXCLUSIVE)

    Acclaimed Indian director, Shekhar Kapur is to direct a TV series for Endemol Shine based on historical novels by Amitav Ghosh, known as the “Ibis Trilogy.” The deal was announced at Series Mania in Lille. The books “Sea of Poppies,” “River of Smoke,” and “Flood of Fire,” are set in mid-19th century Asia. They interweave [...]

  • ‘Lambs Of God’ To World Premiere

    Lingo Pictures, Endemol Shine’s ‘Lambs of God’ Set for Series Mania World Premiere

    LILLE, France — Lingo Pictures Productions and Endemol Shine’s new Australian limited series “Lambs of God,” based on the Australian novel of the same name by Marele Day, world premieres on Wednesday, March 27 in the main International Competition at this year’s Series Mania festival. The series follows three devout nuns, the last sisters of [...]

  • Bruno DEBRANDT (Florent) et Julie GAYET

    Federation Acquires Intl. Sales Rights on Series Mania French Competition Player ‘Torn’

    LILLE, France — Leading French independent production-finance-distribution sales company Federation Entertainment has secured international sales rights on upcoming French psychological thriller “Torn.” The series was created and written by director Lionel Bailliu (“Innocente”)and Yann Le Gal (“Léo Mattéï, Brigade des Mineurs”) and world premieres in the official French competition on March 25 at France’s Series [...]

  • About Premium Content Expands Scope, Rebrands

    About Premium Content Expands Scope, Rebrands as APC Studios (EXCLUSIVE)

    As it celebrates its fifth anniversary, the rising Paris-based TV production and distribution company About Premium Content is rebranding as APC Studios to reflect the expanded scope of its activities. APC Studios, which launched as a sales company in 2014, is now a producer, financier and distributor of upscale projects ranging from scripted to factual [...]

  • Win Rosenfeld, Jordan Peele and Simon

    'Star Trek: Discovery,' 'Twilight Zone' Bring Energy, Emotion to PaleyFest

    Both the CBS All Access shows “Star Trek: Discovery” and the upcoming “Twilight Zone” reboot held PaleyFest panels on Sunday, with both sets of cast and creators bringing energy, humor, and emotion to the stage. Both panels were moderated by Variety‘s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway. First up was “Discovery,” where series star Doug [...]

  • Marvel's Runaways Review

    'Marvel's Runaways' Renewed for Third Season at Hulu

    Hulu has renewed “Marvel’s Runaways” for a third season. Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Runaways” stars Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, and Allegra Acosta as the Runaways, six teenagers from different backgrounds who unite against their parents, the Pride, portrayed by Angel Parker, Ryan Sands, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, Ever Carradine, James Marsters, Brigid Brannagh, Kevin Weisman, Brittany Ishibashi, and James Yaegashi. The new order is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content