Bob Guccione, who rose to fame when he founded Penthouse in 1965 and later declared bankruptcy in 2003, will be the focus of a new television series, Variety reports.
The program will attempt to push past Guccione’s surface-level reputation as an extravagant-mansion-owner in charge of an erotic magazine. “Bob Guccione was more of an intellectual,” maintains Rick Schwartz, co-founder of Jerrick Media, which will executive produce the series in partnership with Maven Pictures. “He was a complicated guy.”
The story will pick up with Guccione in the years before he founded Penthouse, when he worked as a cartoonist in London, and track his ascendance and eventual descent into bankruptcy. “It’s a meaty story,” Schwartz asserted. Episodes will be narrated from the perspective of “the women in Guccione’s life,” according to Variety.
Due to the fact that Guccione helmed an erotic magazine, Maven and Jerrick aim to find a home for their show where its titillating aspects won’t be restricted by the family-friendly requirements of network TV. “The plan is to do it on cable, Amazon, Netflix or somewhere where we can do it uncensored,” Schwartz noted.
The initial spark for the project came when Jerrick Media co-founder Jeremy Fromme purchased storage lockers at an auction in New Jersey. One of these happened to belong to Guccione, who died in 2010, and it contained back issues of Penthouse along with other personal items. Jerrick then spent three years researching Guccione’s life and buying his old belongings.
The producers are in the process of interviewing prospective writers for the show. Schwartz’s past production credits include The Departed, Black Swan and Gangs of New York, while Maven Pictures’ include The Kids Are All Right, American Honey and Bernie.