Global production and distribution company Fremantle has signed-up two-time Emmy Award, Writers Guild Award and Humanitas Prize winner Kirk Ellis as a writer for its new high-end TV series Bibi based on the personal and political life of Benjamin Netanyahu.
The series is being produced by Abot Hameiri, a Fremantle company, and adapted from journalist Ben Caspit’s The Netanyahu Years, a bestselling biography of the figure colloquially known as Bibi.
Ellis is the acclaimed producer and writer behind the John Adams event series for Tom Hanks and HBO, which holds the record for most Emmy wins by a programme in a single year with a total of 13 awards. He also adapted David McCullough’s 1776, as well as James Ellroy’s American Tabloid, both for HBO.
Ellis’s myriad of other credits includes the Emmy-nominated Into the West for Dreamworks/TNT, and Emmy Award-winning Anne Frank: The Whole Story for ABC. Ellis was repped on the deal by Myman Greenspan and Thruline Entertainment.
“Kirk Ellis’s track record speaks for itself, so we’re delighted that he is joining this unique project,” said Guy Hameiri, co-founder of Abot Hameiri. “The series is the biggest IP we can deliver out of Israel today to the world, and with Kirk’s esteemed catalogue of work, particularly in exploring the lives of high-profile figures, it makes him a perfect addition to this series looking at one of the most influential figures in modern geo-politics.”
“Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the most complex figures in modern history,” said Ellis. “His is a life lived on a Shakespearean scale. Ben Caspit’s insightful reporting demonstrates how private life always shapes public affairs, and there’s no shortage of conflict – or opinions – when it comes to Benjamin Netanyahu. I’m thrilled and honoured to be working with Guy and the entire Abot Hameiri team to bring this story to life.”
While other documentaries have profiled Netanyahu, the show will be the first drama series about his life, inspired by the book which focuses on how Netanyahu’s personality has shaped Israel’s political and security establishment
“This is an epic political story with a very big philosophical and psychological undertone,” said Hameiri. “At the same time, it will be a scandalous family melodrama that explores how the personal can become political, and vice versa.”
Born in Tel Aviv in 1949, Netanyahu studied at M.I.T. before becoming a rising star during the early 1980s as a diplomat at Israel’s embassy in Washington. Netanyahu served in the Israeli army’s elite Sayaret Matkal unit alongside his brother Yoni, who was killed in the 1976 hostage-rescue mission in Entebbe. Netanyahu’s role commemorating his brother gave him intense public exposure and led to his political career.