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Paramount TV, Anonymous to Adapt Susan Orlean’s ‘The Library Book’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Paramount Television and Anonymous Content, in association with Brillstein Entertainment, have acquired the TV rights to Susan Orlean’s best-seller “The Library Book,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Published in October by Simon & Schuster, “The Library Book” tells the true story of the fire that nearly destroyed the Los Angeles Public Library on April 28, 1986. The fire burned for more than seven hours, consuming 400,000 books and damaging 700,000 more. More than thirty years later, the mystery surrounding how the fire began remains.  The book has spent six months on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list to date.

“Susan has created a captivating narrative that is part mystery, part magic, and part love letter to the dedicated stewards who fight to keep these beloved institutions alive,” said Nicole Clemens, president of Paramount TV. “Each day at the library, the human drama that unfolds among staff and patrons of every socio-economic level – funny, sad, inspiring, unexpected – speaks to the highs and lows of our country right now, and we’re excited to bring these stories to life on screen.”

Orlean will adapt the book for television along with James Ponsoldt, with both serving as executive producers as well. Ponsoldt will also direct the pilot. David Kanter will executive produce for Anonymous along with Brad Petrigala for Brillstein.

“I am so excited to see this book leap from the page to the screen and tell the story of a place that’s so well-loved and complex and interesting,” said Orlean. “I’ve been a fan of James’ since his first film, and to have Paramount Television and Anonymous Content as our partners, with their great respect for writers and writing, makes this my dream team.”

Ponsoldt’s previous credits include films such as “The End of Tour,” “The Spectacular Now,” and “The Circle.” He also executive produced and directed the pilot for the Netflix series “Master of None.”

“Susan is truly one of the most charming, intelligent, and surprising people I have had the privilege of knowing and her writing echoes each of these characteristics, dazzling readers at every turn,” Kanter said. “I am thrilled to work with her and to reteam with James Ponsoldt, who we partnered with on ‘The End of the Tour,’ to bring her beautiful chronicle about reading, compassion, LA’s crazy history and the love of knowledge, to life on screen.”

Orlean is repped by Anonymous and InkWell Management. Ponsoldt is repped by UTA and Brillstein.

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