HISTORY® has greenlit “Grant,” a six-part television documentary based on Pulitzer Prize®-winning author Ron Chernow’s #1 New York Times bestselling biography, produced by Academy Award®-winner Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson’s Appian Way Productions and RadicalMedia (“Bobby Kennedy For President,” “MARS,” “Hamilton’s America”) in association with Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) Television. The documentary will portray one of the most complex and underappreciated generals and presidents in U.S. history – Ulysses S. Grant. Chernow will also serve as executive producer. DiCaprio’s Appian Way is also producing a feature film based on the Chernow biography with Lionsgate, which will be distributing the title under its Summit Entertainment label. This also marks the second collaboration between HISTORY® and Appian Way.
“Grant is one of the most brilliant, yet flawed figures in U.S. history and Chernow’s extraordinary biography has transformed our understanding of him at the deepest level,” said Eli Lehrer, Executive Vice President of Programming, HISTORY. “This documentary will look at the Civil War and Reconstruction through the intriguing lens of Grant and we look forward to bringing Chernow’s fascinating portrait of this president to life.”
“We’re thrilled to be working with HISTORY and the amazing teams at Appian and RadicalMedia in offering viewers Chernow’s account of President Grant via a captivating premium television documentary,” said Lionsgate EVP of Alternative Programming Jennifer O’Connell. “Our alternative television team is also proud to be working closely with our motion picture group in complementing this high-end property by bringing Grant’s story to life through film, underscoring our collaborative cross-divisional efforts.”
“We value our relationship with both HISTORY and Lionsgate and are thrilled to be teaming up with RadicalMedia,” noted Davisson. “Chernow’s account of Grant’s storied history allows us to bring his story to life through different yet collaborative mediums.”
The six-part documentary examines Grant’s life story using his perspective and experiences to explore a turbulent time in history – the Civil War and Reconstruction. Grant is known for his role as U.S. Army General and Commanding General during the Civil War, but few recognize his struggles during his youth, his time at West Point, his service in the Mexican War alongside some of the greatest names from U.S. military history or his several failed business ventures before the Civil War.
Criticized for a scandal ridden Presidency and with a reputation for being a drunk, Grant was often dismissed by scholars, even after he distinguished himself as an extraordinary military strategist and leader during the Civil War. However, a primary focus of his Administration was Reconstruction and the herculean task to reconcile the North and the South. One of the most courageous and unexpected initiatives of Grant’s Presidency was protecting the four million freed slaves who had become U.S. citizens with the right to vote – despite the enormous resistance he faced. Most notably after his presidency, Grant embarked on a world tour in hopes Americans would forget the scandals during his term and negotiated a contract with a friend – famed novelist Mark Twain – to publish his now famous memoirs.
HISTORY® has seen continued success with mega-docs such as Emmy Award® winner “The Men Who Built America,” Emmy Award® winner “America: The Story of Us,” Emmy Award®nominee “The World Wars,” and “Vietnam in HD.” Most recently, “The Men Who Built America: Frontiersmen” reached 26 million viewers on a Live+7 basis.
“Grant” is produced for HISTORY® by Appian Way Productions and RadicalMedia in association with Lionsgate Television. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson are executive producers for Appian Way Productions who are also producers on Lionsgate’s feature film based on the same property. Dave Sirulnick, Justin Wilkes and Fisher Stevens are executive producers for RadicalMedia. Ron Chernow is executive producer. Eli Lehrer, Mary E. Donahue and Jennifer Wagman are executive producers for HISTORY®. Brian Volk-Weiss also serves as executive producer.