John Heilemann is writing a book about the 2020 election and Joe Biden’s rise to the Presidency and Showtime, home to his series The Circus, has optioned the screen rights.
Heilemann has previously co-written books Game Change and Double Down, accounts of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, respectively. HBO adapted Game Change, which starred Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin, into a television movie.
He was set to write a 2016 edition of the franchise but the book, and the subsequent HBO Films adaptation, was cancelled after his co-author Mark Halperin was accused of sexual harassment.
Heilemann’s upcoming book will be published by Simon & Schuster, the publishing company that ViacomCBS is selling to Penguin Random House.
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It will be a first-hand account of Biden’s triumph, both against a sprawling field of Democratic rivals and then Donald Trump.
Heilemann has known and covered Biden and his family for more than three decades, in print and on television. The forthcoming book will be based both on that unique history and Heilemann’s reporting on the 2020 campaign.
The Circus, the political series that Heilemann co-hosts, returns to Showtime in January for its sixth season. In addition, Heilemann is a co-founder of Recount Media and Executive Editor of The Recount and a National Affairs Analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.
“I first met Joe Biden in 1986 when I was in college and he was getting ready to run for president the first time, and I’ve been following his ups and downs, his triumphs and tragedies, ever since,” Heilemann said. “The story of how, against all odds and against the apocalyptic backdrop of America in 2020, Biden rallied in the winter of his life to defeat Trump – and, in the eyes of many, to save the country – is one of the great political tales of this or any age, and I’m thrilled to have a chance to tell it.”