L.A. Confidential Writer James Ellroy Developing Period Drama Inspired By Fred Otash For FX

Until The Americans, the closest thing FX had to a period drama would have been the second season of American Horror Story, but the network seems to have taken an interest in the past with the recent 80s-set spy drama, and they may be adding another period drama to their roster, if things go well for Shakedown, a project in development at FX, which is reportedly inspired by the life of 1950s Hollywood informant Fred Otash.

Shakedown is said to be set in the tabloid world and underbelly of Los Angeles around the late 1950s, and centers on Fred O'Tash, the city's top informant and wire tapper, who has his eyes and ears on the personal lives of the city's most glamorous residents. THR says the project is being written by L.A. Confidential writer James Ellroy, who has used Otash as inspiration for his fictional characters in the past.

From what THR reports, Otash claimed to have listened in on Marilyn Monroe when she was bedding JFK. And he also claimed to have recorded Rock Hudson telling his wife that he was gay. If you want to get a look at Otash around the peak of his career, you can watch him being interviewed by Mike Wallace in 1957 here. The video, which includes a lot of smoking and also Wallace's heavy endorsement of Philip Morris cigarettes (a smoke with a blend he describes as a "man's kind of mildness"), has Wallace grilling Otash on his involvement in prying into the personal lives of celebrities.

With the right series, FX could certainly give AMC a run for its money in the period drama department, should things take off for Shakedown. The project joins Kurt Sutter's Diva Clown Killer, Tim Roth's bank robbery drama, and Ryan Seacrest's "detective-turned-fixer" drama among the projects in the works at FX, a network with an established reputation for gritty dramas. An Otash-inspired drama could prove to be a fascinating TV show, so we'll have to wait and see if things work out for this one.

Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site.