NBC seem to be nowhere near finished with their recent choices of pilots for TV shows based on historical events and people, and while it is set to be a more ‘realistic’ proposition than the , their decision to take on a show based on the 1st American President George Washington will have the potential to create plenty of controversy if they do not do the former national leader (who served in his role between 1789-1797) justice in his portrayal.
The series (with a working title of simply George Washington), which will be based on the ‘award-winning biography’ Washington: A Life (written by Ron Chernow), is to be adapted to a potential screen format by writer David Seidler (The King’s Speech), and Barry Levinson (Good Morning, Vietnam and Rain Man) being signed to direct the pilot episode.
The planned format of the show will take viewers ‘back and forth’ through Washington’s life and covering aspects which may have been overlooked more by the history books, as Seidler explained: “There’s George Washington the national icon, gazing out from the dollar bill with his mouthful of supposedly wooden teeth, and then there’s the George Washington who had an adulterous affair with his best friend’s wife. The George Washington obsessed with social status, finely-tailored clothes, his image. Not an icon, a very human human being, who learned how to lead. That’s the man I want to understand.”
Levinson added of the plans, which will be produced by NBCU International Productions/Carnival Films & Television (Downton Abbey): “What’s so interesting is here was a man who was more instrumental to what our country is today and more famous than any other figure in our history, and yet no-one knows anything about him. We know the myth of the man, but the reality was he was a flawed and troubled character who overcame his flaws to become one of the foremost leaders of this nation.”
While that belief is likely to have at least some element of truth to it, will a potentially opinion-changing series from NBC cause uproar from the more idealistic of historians?