ABC Wants to Create the Next 'Butler' With 'A Slave in the White House' Adaptation
Likely inspired by the overwhelming success of Lee Daniels' The Butler this past summer, ABC is going the historical route for at least one of its new series picks. According to Indiewire, the network has just greenlit a 12-hour miniseries based off Elizabeth Dowling Taylor's non-fiction novel A Slave in the White House, which tells the true story of Paul Jennings, a slave who went on to serve President James Madison.
Since the series has just been greenlit, no cast members have been chosen for the historical roles — but it has been confirmed that LUV director/writer Sheldon Candis, and Justin Wilson (who worked on the screenplay for LUV as well) will be writing and co-executive-producing the series.
Jennings, who was born into slavery in Virginia in 1799, began to serve James Madison at a young age as a footman, and then eventually moved to the White House with Madison after he was elected president. He got his freedom later in life, and went on to write the first White House memoir, A Colored Man's Reminiscences Of James Madison. He also gave Madison's widow, Dolley Madison, money from his own pocket when she had grown older and impoverished. Taylor's account of Jennings was applauded for being pretty historically accurate, as it included journals, correspondence, and legal documents from Jennings' life.
The miniseries will likely air some time next year.