Subscription cable networks like HBO and Starz have been busy building their respective lineups over the last several months, but Showtime has been a little more silent on the new show front. All of that changed this week when the pay channel began developing a new drama project called Billions, signing on for a pilot based on a script from Andrew Ross Sorkin, Btian Koppelman and David Levien. The news marks the very first pilot pick-up the network has announced in 2014 and based on its plot, it should stir up at least a little excitement.
Because Billions is not a particularly revealing title on its own, you’re probably interested in a plot summary. The project will follow a U.S. attorney who is described as “aggressive.” With his go-getter demeanor, the New York-based lawyer will constantly butt heads and get into political conflict with some of the richest hedge fund billionaires in the country. Sorkin has a little bit of experience writing about the political landscape in the United States. He’s more known in the field of writing as a journalist who co-wrote the book Too Big to Fail: How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System - and Themselves. His familiarity with the material should be a good fit for the potential Showtime drama.
Koppelman and Levien, on the other hand, offer plenty of expertise from the entertainment end of the spectrum. The two men co-wrote Rounders, Ocean’s Thirteen, Runaway Jury and more. All three men will executive produce the pilot, though it’s entirely possible a fourth person could be added depending on who is added to the cast.
Even without any firm commitments, it’s probably safe to assume a pretty big name will come on board. Not only is taking a pay channel program all the range for acclaimed supporting actors right now, Hollywood types have a long history of attaching themselves to think pieces and hot button political dramas. This should be both. Not only are hedge funds and Wall Street billions among the most divisive issues of our time, they also open up a world of high stakes gambles, fancy college degrees and wealthy meet-and-greets that should be fascinating to watch for viewers. Anyone who has seen Wall Street knows how riveting a movie about buying stock can be in the hands of the right director.
It’s not a ton to go on, but presumably since Showtime has already ordered the pilot for the drama, we’ll be hearing plenty more from Billions over the coming weeks. Look for a name like John C Reilly, Alan Tudyk or Paul Giamatti to board as the face. That’s the type of star they’re no doubt searching for, and it’s that quality of actor that will be needed to take it to another level. So, keep your fingers crossed. We’ll update you when hard and fast information becomes available.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock/ Natalia K