LOS ANGELES, December 11th, 2019—Sam Sokolow, an executive producer of Nat Geo’s Emmy-winning “Genius” franchise and Chairman of Nice Media Studios, and Steven Camp, President of the company, announced today that the company has optioned Walter Isaacson’s New York Times best seller “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” as an 8-part limited series. Alec Sokolow, the Academy Award nominated writer of “Toy Story” will write the pilot. Nice Media Studios has partnered with Tony Fiorino and RJ Bucaria of FIO Entertainment on the project.
“Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” is Walter Isaacson’s epic biography on America’s first polymath Ben Franklin, a self-made man who rose from printer, writer and inventor to statesman and the very epitome of America itself. Isaacson also wrote “Einstein: His Life and Universe” which Sokolow developed into the Nat Geo series “Genius”.
The first season of GENIUS depicted the life of Albert Einstein with Geoffrey Rush starring as Einstein and Ron Howard directing the pilot. GENIUS: EINSTEIN garnered ten 2017 Emmy nominations including a Best Limited Series nomination. The second season of GENIUS - GENIUS: PICASSO - depicted the life of Pablo Picasso with Antonio Banderas starring as Picasso and garnered seven 2018 Emmy nominations including a Best Limited Series nomination. The third season of GENIUS will depict the life of “The Queen Of Soul” Aretha Franklin, with Cynthia Erivo portraying Aretha, and will premiere in 2020.
“When I read Walter’s book on Franklin I saw another epic television event in the making,” said Nice Media Studios’ Sam Sokolow. “The current moment feels like one where people around the country and all around the globe are asking the question – what exactly is an American? Ben Franklin is the original article and his story is unexpected, dramatic, dangerous, soapy, and literally holds the future of the world order at stake.”
Alec Sokolow has a long and impressive track record writing feature films including “Toy Story”, “Goodbye Lover”, “Money Talks” and “Cheaper By The Dozen”. He recently produced the documentary “I Am Jane Doe”, which focused on sex trafficking and was instrumental in the fight to take down the online platform Back Page. He is a graduate of Ben Franklin’s own University of Pennsylvania and has long sought to tell Franklin’s story.
"Ben Franklin has always been the founding father I’d want to know,” said Alec Sokolow. “He was a rags to riches story. Our first media baron. Before he, you know, tamed lightning, took down a monarch, helped win the war of independence and helped guide the creation of the constitution. Oh, and he loved the ladies.”
LA and Toronto-based Nice Media Studios holds a strong development pipeline with A-List talent attached - and shows covering many different genres of scripted programing - that are currently being financed and produced in and out of the USA, in association with large studios, major networks and streaming services.
Nice Media Studios has partnered with FIO Entertainment on a slate of television show properties, that includes this tv series based on the life of Ben Franklin. “When Sam (Sokolow) approached me about taking one of Walter’s greatest works to television - especially on the heels of such tremendous momentum and critical success of his Genius series - there was no way to contain my enthusiasm,” said FIO Entertainment’s Tony Fiorino.
Nice Media Studios’ President Steven Camp says, “Walter Isaacson is one of the most influential biographers in the world and Alec Sokolow’s creative mind has driven several of the most recognizable brands in this industry. I am honored to be working with this team on a television series that will focus on this most iconic figure from American History.”
About Nice Media Studios:
Nice Media Studios is a film and television studio business, providing funding and production structuring, bringing premium projects to life and commercializing these properties across an expanding range of distribution media platforms and outlets. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Toronto, and Chicago, Nice Media Studios’ world class portfolio of TV and film entertainment properties responds to the acute demand for compelling programming to feed ever-increasing media channels. Its powerful approach to story-telling leverages unique and direct access to A-List talent, writers, show-runners, directors, decision-makers, financing and studio production infrastructure. https://www.nicemediastudios.com/
About FIO Entertainment:
FIO Entertainment, a business of Wheel House Entertainment Incorporated, was created to develop and produce bleeding-edge Film, TV and Music content through strategic partnerships as well as its own internal creative process. Based in New York City, FIO leverages its team’s long history of successfully investing in and creating memorable content across the full spectrum of media and entertainment to enable it to identify compelling stories to bring to life across traditional and new media platforms. https://www.fioentertainment.com/