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For everyone waiting to see whether or not Alec Baldwin would ever return to a small-screen scripted series, a long-gestating project is now in the works. Baldwin is headed to HBO for an untitled hour-long political drama which will see him attempting to step into the role of New York City mayor. A strange case of art imitating almost-life, right?

The show, co-produced by Universal TV, will center on Baldwin’s Joe Byrne, a mega-billionaire real estate developer and entrepreneur who can’t stay out of the tabloid spotlights. The incumbent New York City mayor experiences a tragedy, and Byrne becomes “the guy” to replace him. His entrance into the world of politics is made all the more difficult by his problematic past and lust for women in his post-divorce life.

Baldwin, who briefly considered runs for both mayor and governor at different points, went into depth describing his character to Deadline.
He’s Trump without the baggage, Bloomberg but a Democrat, George Soros if he was in real estate, a left-leaning Democrat who is also a businessman who understands the reality of how the city has to be run to create the right climate for the business community. He’s drafted for this run because the alternative would be a catastrophe.

The fame-and-political-based undercurrent of New York City will be part of the focus, but the series will reportedly be lighter than the D.C.-skewing House of Cards in that respect. The tone was described as something similar to “the lightest and most entertaining episodes of The Sopranos.” That’s an interesting comparison, and it’s nice to have a hard-hitting drama where death isn’t the only form of high-stakes storytelling, although Baldwin does mention a certain House of Cards murder as a point of high-drama inspiration.

Baldwin and co-executive producer Cary Brokaw were interested in the kind of creative freedom that HBO allowed, and the project currently has a put pilot deal with the premium cable network with a large penalty attached. Baldwin told Deadline that he and Brokaw had planned on putting this show into action nine years ago, but Lorne Michaels and 30 Rock came along.

Writing the pilot is award-winning short story author Wells Tower, who has been published in a slew of outlets over the years. His first short story collection, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, was in the running to become an HBO series, but didn’t get past the pilot stage. He also wrote the HBO pilot Paper.

Baldwin, who had a shortlived run as the host of MSNBC’s Up Late, will soon be seen on the big screen in Cameron Crowe’s romantic comedy Aloha and Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible 5, as well as Warren Beatty’s currently untitled next drama. He’ll also be voicing a character in Dreamworks Animations’ upcoming comedy Boss Baby.

The drama pilot is being planned for a September production in New York City, and the hunt is currently out for a “major director.” In any case, everyone should be able to watch it on HBO Now, assuming the series and the service plans comes together.

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