20th Television has been developing a new limited series about Sammy Davis Jr, who rose from childhood stardom on the vaudeville stage to become one of the most famous African-American entertainers of the 1950s and ’60s (and the only Black member of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack). At the same time, he spent most of his career surrounded by controversy and ridicule–over his affairs with white film stars, his 1960 marriage to Swedish actress May Britt, his conversion to Judaism, his closeness to the Kennedys (and later Richard Nixon), and his problems with alcohol and drugs.
The series was originally ordered by Hulu in April 202. However, according to Deadline, Hulu will no longer be moving forward with the project, and 20th Television is shopping the show around to other platforms, similar to how Disney has recently shopped around “The Spiderwick Chronicles” and “Nautilus” to other streaming service.
This new limited series is set to star Elijah Kelley, and Kimberly Harrison (The Crossover) is working as a showrunner on the project and an executive producer. Lee Daniels and Thomas Westfall have written the limited series, and it is based on Will Haygood’s biography, “In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Jr”. Lee Daniels will also direct the first two episodes. Marc Toberoff and Pam Williams are also executive producers on the limited series.
Harrison executive produces with Daniels, who will direct the first two episodes and Westfall. Marc Toberoff and Pam Williams are also executive producers. Haygood and Kelley produce.
Disney has been making many changes to its upcoming lineup of content as it reduces the amount of general entertainment it creates, primarily to reduce costs. It’ll be interesting to see if any other streaming platform or channel will pick the project up for it to go ahead, or if the project will just be passed on.
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