×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sky Italia, Britain’s Channel 4 Board George Clooney’s TV Adaptation of ‘Catch-22’

Sky Italia and Britain’s Channel 4 have boarded George Clooney’s “Catch-22” TV series, which is set to start shooting in Italy this month.

Sky Italia, part of pan-European pay-TV service Sky, will co-produce the adaptation of Joseph Heller’s anti-war classic and air it exclusively in Italy. Channel 4, which is an advertiser-funded pubcaster, has acquired British rights to the limited series, which marks Clooney’s first regular TV role since NBC’s “ER.”

Sky is joining Paramount Television, Anonymous Content, and Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures as a “Catch-22” co-producer. The hotly anticipated series, planned to be ready in 2019, will air in the U.S. on Hulu, which commissioned the show. 

“Catch-22” is produced by Clooney and Heslov along with Richard Brown (“True Detective”) and Steve Golin (“Spotlight”) from Anonymous Content. Luke Davies (“Lion”) and David Michod (“Animal Kingdom”) are co-writing and executive producing the series alongside Clooney. Ellen Kuras (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) will be co-directing the series with Clooney and Heslov.

The six-episode show, set in Italy during World War II, centers on Capt. John Yossarian, a U.S. Air Force bombardier who while trying to complete the number of flight missions required to go home, must contend with an absurd bureaucratic rule. The so-called Catch-22 rule specifies that a man is considered insane (and therefore ineligible for combat) if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but a request to be removed from duty is evidence of sanity and therefore voids the ineligibility. The term has become synonymous with an illogical or paradoxical situation. 

As previously announced, Yossarian will be played by Christopher Abbott (“The Sinner,” “Girls”). Hugh Laurie (“House,” “The Night Manager”) has been cast as squadron officer Major de Coverley, who “dances to the beat of his own drum” and spends his time pitching horseshoes, listening to jazz, and mixing himself martinis, according to promotional materials.

Kyle Chandler (“Bloodline”) will play Colonel Cathcart, the commander who repeatedly increases the number of combat missions that are required before a soldier can return home. Clooney was originally set to play this part, but then decided to take the smaller role of Scheisskopf, the training commander at Yossarian’s cadet school, in order to focus more on his duties behind the camera. 

Scheisskopf is being described as not very likable. “He’s not the type of person who puts his cadets’ interests before his own career. He’s ambitious, but also inept,” the materials said.

Sky Italia’s executive vice president of programming, Andrea Scrosati, said in a statement that his company is particularly proud a high-profile project such as “Catch-22” will be shot almost entirely in Italy. He added that the country “in recent years has been able to fully show its creative and production potential, even at an international level,” and said Sky was the first broadcaster to tap into this potential by producing shows, such as “The Young Pope,” that “are now recognized and appreciated abroad.”

The “Catch-22” shoot, which is being serviced by Leone Film Group’s Lotus Production arm, will take place in Sardinia and Rome.

Channel 4 Director of Programmes Ian Katz described “Catch-22” as extremely timely. “It’s hard to imagine a work that speaks more directly to the frequently absurd times we live in, and to the growing sense of individual distrust of institutions,” he said in a statement. Michod and Davies’ script “crackles with irony, anger and humanity,” Katz said. 

Channel 4, which is the British home of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” is contributing to some aspects of “Catch-22’s” development.

More TV

  • Gloria Vanderbilt Dead at 95

    Gloria Vanderbilt Dies at 95

    Gloria Vanderbilt, a famous model and socialite who was often a subject of fascination in the worlds of fashion and media, has died at 95, according to a report on CNN, where her son, anchor Anderson Cooper, has worked for several years. From a young age, Vanderbilt led a tumultuous life, one marked by a [...]

  • kinetic-content-ceo-Chris-Coelen-renews-deal

    Kinetic Content's Chris Coelen Re-Ups as Company Makes Scripted Move (EXCLUSIVE)

    Chris Coelen has extended his tenure as CEO of Kinetic Content as the LA-based production business moves into scripted TV. Kinetic is part of the Red Arrows Studios stable and has been built on unscripted fare, with a roster of factual entertainment, formats and lifestyle series including “Married at First Sight,” the “Little Women” franchise [...]

  • BABY

    Italian TV Producers Head to L.A. With High-End Series Pitches (EXCLUSIVE)

    Looking to replicate the success of “Gomorrah” and “My Brilliant Friend,” a clutch of Italian TV producers is making the trek to L.A. to pitch high-end TV series based on local properties steeped in crime and history. Top outfits such as Fabula Pictures, the makers of Italian Netflix original “Baby,” and Lux Vide, which is [...]

  • ChileVision-y-Mediapro-Studio

    The Mediapro Studio, ChileVision Sign Co-production Pact, Set ‘El Discipulo del Chef’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID  —  Spanish production powerhouse The Mediapro Studio and Chilean broadcast network ChileVisión, part of  Turner Latin America, have signed a co-production pact, kicked off by “El discípulo del Chef,” an ambitious entertainment format. One of Mediapro’s big new unscripted plays, the show will be introduced to buyers at October’s Mipcom trade fair. The title [...]

  • david-tennant-in-netflix-procedural-criminal

    David Tennant, Hayley Atwell Among Guest Stars in Netflix Procedural ‘Criminal’

    A host of guest stars have signed on for “Criminal,” the stripped-down Netflix procedural set in France, Spain, Germany and the U.K. The action takes place within the confines of a police interview suite. There are three 45-minute episodes set in each country. Guest stars in the British installments include David Tennant (“Good Omens”), Hayley [...]

  • Baztan Elizondo Guardián Invisible

    Conecta Fiction: Spain’s Navarre Primes Film-TV Gameplan

    MADRID  — Navarre has been a long-term film and TV shooting locale thanks to diverse and sometimes stunning landscapes that take in the Bardenas Reales badlands, immortalized in titles such as “The World Is Not Enough” and “Game of Thrones.” One of Spain’s richest regions, Navarre has historically levied its own tax regime, which led [...]

  • Jeremy Sisto, Ebonee Noel, Dick Wolf,

    Dick Wolf Plots Cross-Network Crossover Between CBS, NBC

    Veteran television producer Dick Wolf, best known for creating the “Law & Order” franchise, is eyeing a cross-network crossover between his CBS freshman procedural “FBI” or its in-the-works spinoff “FBI: Most Wanted” and one of his NBC shows, such as “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” or “Chicago P.D.” The decision whether to go with [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content