Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Jerusalem (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) is set to be adapted for the screen after Lionsgate Television UK bought rights to the non-fiction work.
The series will be a character-driven, action-filled account of war, betrayal, faith, fanaticism, slaughter, persecution and co-existence in the universal city through the ages, based on Montefiore’s biography.
Lionsgate will produce the work and sell global television rights, including to the US and the UK, with Montefiore acting as consultant and executive producer. The deal was struck through Montefiore's agent Georgina Capel.
Steve November, creative director for UK Television at Lionsgate said: “For our first television development we could not be happier or more excited than to be working with Simon to adapt his extraordinary book. Jerusalem is a compelling narrative which tells the human story of empires, nations, dynasties, politics and religions. This project will bring the story of this unique city and the people who have fought and died for it alive in an epic, dynastic television saga running through multiple seasons.”
Lionsgate Television Group Chairman Kevin Beggs added: “Jerusalem has all the ingredients to become the kind of noisy, high-end event programming that is a Lionsgate signature. Under the leadership of Steve November, working in collaboration with our US creative team, this is the perfect property to launch Lionsgate Television UK’s slate of premium series for a global audience.”
In the UK, Lionsgate has recently invested in production companies Potboiler Television, Bonafide Films, Primal Media & Kindle Entertainment, and co-financed the hit Channel 4 comedy Damned which is greenlit for a second series.
It has produced nearly 90 series on 40 different U.S. networks, including Orange is the New Black, Nashville, Casual, The Royals, Greenleaf, Dear White People and Kicking & Screaming along with eagerly-anticipated new series such as White Famous for Showtime, Step Up for YouTube Red and Candy Crush for CBS.