From pool boys to supporting Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, another former president — albeit of one of the country’s largest evangelical schools — Jerry Falwell Jr., will become the subject of a new limited series from Lionsgate TV.
Producer Michael London (Snowfall, The King’s Daughter) signed a first-look deal with Lionsgate TV with his first project being the Falwell-centric series. The series is being developed by London and Shannon Gaulding of Groundswell Productions about the rise and fall of Falwell and the empire he inherited from his father, the infamous Jerry Falwell Sr. The series is being adapted from Gabriel Sherman’s Vanity Fair profile from earlier this year. This may be the first collaboration between the team of London and Groundswell and Lionsgate, but the multiyear deal indicates that it won’t be the last.
“There’s nothing better than having creative partners who are truly creative, as well as collaborative in smart,” said London in a statement. He would continue, “The Lionsgate team is all of those things and more. Shannon Gauldin and I are excited to jump into this new venture focusing on the king of smart, singular, and entertaining television that both companies stand for.”
Falwell built up Liberty University, an evangelical school that he was handed the keys to from his father. Some accomplishments include bringing the school’s football team to relevancy — placing them in Division 1 competition and beating Coastal Carolina in the Cure Bowl a couple of years back. Their last starting quarterback, Malik Willis, was a third-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft and just made his NFL debut in this past weekend’s Tennessee Titans game.
But what goes up must come down, and Falwell is certainly no exception. Falwell was a staunch supporter of Trump during his campaign and during his presidency — even hosting Trump and some of his family members at his school including having the then-president give the commencement speech in 2017. A scandal involving a pool boy, his relationship with Falwell’s wife, and a fiasco over the ownership of a Miami hotel led to Falwell‘s resignation as president of Liberty University in August 2020.
A fun fact, Jerry Sr. was featured in The Eyes of Tammy Faye — a film based on the rise and fall of another evangelical megachurch power couple, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker — and was played by Vincent D’Onofrio.
The limited series is still in the early stages of development and does not have a planned release date.