George Clooney has his sights set on another period biopic. Deadline reports that his Smokehouse Pictures is set to team with Sony on the story of Tom and Dick Smothers, specifically focusing on their television variety show, “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” that ran in the late ’60s.
The screenplay, to be drafted by Brian Hecker and Craig Sherman, is based “Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” by David Bianculli. Bianculli, a television critic and founder of TV Worth Watching, wrote the fully authorized book in 2009. It’s officially described as follows:
A behind-the-scenes look at the rise and fall of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” — the provocative, politically charged program that shocked the censors, outraged the White House, and forever changed the face of television.
Decades before “The Daily Show”, “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” proved there was a place on television for no-holds-barred political comedy with a decidedly antiauthoritarian point of view. In this explosive, revealing history of the show, veteran entertainment journalist David Bianculli tells the fascinating story of its three-year network run — and the cultural impact that’s still being felt today.
Before it was suddenly removed from the CBS lineup (reportedly under pressure from the Nixon administration), “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” was a ratings powerhouse. It helped launch the careers of comedy legends such as Steve Martin and Rob Reiner, featured groundbreaking musical acts like the Beatles and the Who, and served as a cultural touchstone for the antiwar movement of the late 1960s.
Drawing on extensive original interviews with Tom and Dick Smothers and dozens of other key players — as well as more than a decade’s worth of original research — Dangerously Funny brings readers behind the scenes for all the battles over censorship, mind-blowing musical performances, and unforgettable sketches that defined the show and its era.
David Bianculli delves deep into this riveting story, to find out what really happened and to reveal why this show remains so significant to this day.
Clooney’s last directorial effort was The Ides of March, produced through Smokehouse. He’s also in theaters now as an actor in Alexander Payne’s The Descendants.