Showtime to Develop TV Series From Upcoming Novel by Bill Clinton, James Patterson

By Joe Flint Features Dow Jones Newswires

Pay-TV channel Showtime has secured the rights to adapt "The President Is Missing," an upcoming mystery novel co-written by former President Bill Clinton and best-selling author James Patterson, into a television series.

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"The President Is Missing," which is being jointly published by Alfred A. Knopf and Little, Brown & Co., is about the disappearance of a sitting president. The publishers have described the book as "a unique amalgam of intrigue, suspense and behind-the-scenes global drama from the highest corridors of power."

The rights to the book, which is scheduled to be released in June 2018, were highly sought after among networks and streaming services. Messrs. Clinton and Patterson had more than a dozen meetings with potential suitors, a person familiar with process said.

Leslie Moonves, the chairman and chief executive of Showtime parent company CBS Corp., was heavily involved in the talks with the pair, the person said. Mr. Patterson has produced for CBS, and Mr. Moonves has been friends with the former president for many years.

Mr. Clinton said in a statement that he "can't wait to see Showtime bring the characters to life."

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in May, Mr. Patterson said he thinks the book is "a really good story with incredible insider detail." It will be President Clinton's first novel, and the first time an American president has co-written a thriller.

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Showtime could use a new hit. Some of its recent efforts -- including a revival of the cult classic "Twin Peaks" and "I'm Dying Up Here," about the dark side of stand-up comedy -- haven't generated the big audiences the network expected.

"The President Is Missing" is similar in genre to some of Showtime's more successful shows, such as the spy thriller "Homeland," the dark Hollywood drama "Ray Donovan" and "Billions," which is about the clash between money and politics in New York City.

Showtime Chief Executive David Nevins said landing "The President Is Missing" is "a coup of the highest order," adding that it will "dovetail perfectly into a politically relevant, character-based action series for our network."

Showtime didn't say when the series will debut.

Write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 22, 2017 11:15 ET (15:15 GMT)