UPDATE — 9/24, 10:53 a.m. EDT: Showtime Networks Inc. announced Friday it has acquired the rights to Bill Clinton’s yet-to-be-released novel, “The President is Missing”, and will serialize the story as a television show after the book’s debut next year.
According to Deadline, the former president was in Los Angeles during the month of August to sell the story to numerous producers and was ultimately bought by Showtime due to parent company CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves’ longtime friendly relationship with Clinton and co-author James Patterson.
Variety reported the rights deal went for in the “low to mid-eight figure range” after eight bids were offered.
Publishing companies Alfred A. Knopf and Little, Brown and Co., announced Monday that former President Bill Clinton will co-author a new novel due to be released in June 2018 about a fictional sitting president.
Long-time fictional writer James Patterson will team up with Clinton for the effort, entitled “The President Is Missing”, described in the joint press release as a “unique amalgam of intrigue, suspense and behind-the-scenes global drama from the highest corridors of power.”
Patterson, whose books have sold over 350 million copies throughout the years, said he knows Mr. Clinton personally from Westchester County, N.Y., where both men reside.
“I’m a storyteller, and President Clinton’s insight has allowed us to tell a really interesting one,” Patterson said in a statement. “It’s a rare combination — readers will be drawn to the suspense, of course, but they’ll also be given an inside look into what it’s like to be president.”
The duo have already started working on the project, which came to fruition after high-powered Washington lawyer Robert Barnett, whose clients include both Clinton and Patterson, approached the 42nd president about collaborating with the New York author.
Barnett also represents such national figures as Barack and Michelle Obama, George W. and Laura Bush, as well as Hillary Clinton.
“Working on a book about a sitting president — drawing on what I know about the job, life in the White House and the way Washington works — has been a lot of fun,” a statement by Mr. Clinton read. “And working with Jim has been terrific. I’ve been a fan of his for a very long time.”
Although a former American president trying his hand at fiction is somewhat unprecedented, political columnist Joe Klein told the New York Times that Clinton has always had varying interests and been a “devoted mystery reader.”
The only other such example of fictional writing by an ex-commander-in-chief in modern history is Jimmy Carter’s 2003 “The Hornet’s Nest”, about Revolutionary War battles fought in the South.
[AP] [Dow Jones via Morningstar] [New York Times] [New York Post] [Photo courtesy Darren McCollester/Getty Images via National Review]