Naomi Watts to Star in Untitled Roger Ailes Showtime Series


Hamptonite Naomi Watts will become Gretchen Carlson, former Fox and Friends co-anchor and victor of the 1989 Miss America beauty pageant, in an upcoming Showtime limited series. The untitled show’s eight-episode run will follow the last years of the late Roger Ailes’s life.

To set itself apart from the countless, one-sided, politically charged shows on the air today, this series will be told from many different points of view. Russell Crowe will portray Ailes in this effort to shed light on his psychology and political process. Based on Gabriel Sherman’s book, The Loudest Voice in the Room, the series will touch on pivotal moments in the late Fox chairman’s life, including being hired by Rupert Murdoch to be the founding CEO of Fox News in 1996 and serving as media consultant for several Republican presidents—Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

As Gretchen Carlson, Watts takes on the role of the first woman to file a sexual harassment suit against Ailes. In July 2016, Carlson sued Ailes on the grounds that she was fired for turning away his sexual advances. A number of other women soon came forward with the same claims, leading to Ailes’s resignation from Fox and new position as Donald Trump’s campaign advisor. Carlson has since become an advocate pushing sexual assault victims to speak up and demand justice.

Production of the limited series is set to begin in November.

Interestingly, The Hollywood Reporter reports that another project focused on Ailes and the women of Fox News is currently in the works. In it, Carlson will be played by Watts’s longtime friend Nicole Kidman, while Hamptons fan John Lithgow will play the former Fox chairmen. In yet another related coincidence, Alexis Bloom’s documentary Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival on October 5 and won Best Documentary Feature.

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