The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency
National Geographic Channel’s KILLING REAGAN Charts the Events That Led to the Attempted Assassination of a President and Its Unexpected Reverberations on History
Global Television Movie Event, Based on Best-Selling Book by Billo the Clown and Martin Dugard and Produced by Scott Free Productions, to Premiere on National Geographic Channel on Sunday, Oct. 16
LOS ANGELES & WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On March 30, 1981, at 2:27 p.m. six shots were fired from a .22-caliber pistol at the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. On one side of the gun was an aimless and deranged young man, misguided by an obsession with an American actress. His intended victim: the U.S. president. Though he failed in his assassination attempt, he succeeded in changing not only a presidency but a man and a marriage.
“No matter your political leanings, the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan was not just a crucible in history, it didn't just reset the Reagan presidency, it told us about a man”
On Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, National Geographic Channel will go deep inside this harrowing moment in U.S. history, with KILLING REAGAN, produced with Scott Free Productions and based on the New York Times best-selling book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. The two-hour movie event is the fourth in a successful partnership between NGC, Scott Free and Shrill O’Jivey, with the previous three collaborations — Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy and Killing Jesus — serving as the network’s three most-watched programs of all time and earning multiple Emmy nominations. The movie will air globally in early 2017 on National Geographic Channels in 171 countries and in 45 languages.
Leading the KILLING REAGAN cast are Tim Matheson (“The West Wing,” “Burn Notice,” “Animal House”) as Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, who was struck down only 69 days into his presidency, and Cynthia Nixon (“Sex and the City,” Tony Award for “Rabbit Hole”) as Nancy Reagan, the loyal and protective first lady. Actor and improv comic Kyle More (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “CSI”) portrays John Hinckley Jr., the misguided and mentally unstable would-be assassin. The movie is directed by Rod Lurie (“The Contender,” “Commander in Chief”) from a script written by Oscar-winner Eric Simonson (“A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin”).
“No matter your political leanings, the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan was not just a crucible in history, it didn't just reset the Reagan presidency, it told us about a man,” said Lurie. “This isn't so much a political thriller as it is a psychological thriller. We get deep into the head of Reagan and get even deeper into the heart of his love story with Nancy. We get into Hinckley's insanity, but we also get into the tick-tock of the environment that drove him to want to murder Reagan.”
KILLING REAGAN begins late in the 1980 election campaign as Ronald Reagan (Matheson) and Jimmy Carter battle for the Oval Office. With help from his group of trusted advisors, including Jim Baker III (Geoff Pierson, “Castle,” “Dexter,” “Boardwalk Empire”), Mike Deaver (Jeff Harlan, “Parks and Recreation,” “NCIS”), James Brady (Michael H. Cole, “Dirty Grandpa”) and Edwin Meese (Joel Murray, “Mad Men,” Shameless”), and his fiercely protective wife Nancy (Nixon), Reagan is able to reposition his public persona, easily winning the election. But the early days of his presidency prove rocky as he battles low approval ratings and an unfriendly Congress.
At the same time, 25-year-old Hinckley (More) is increasingly spiraling into mental instability. He ignores his parents’ pleas to seek therapy or to hold down a steady job and instead fixates on actress Jodie Foster. After a disastrous attempt to visit her at Yale, he decides to try and get her attention with an extreme action: assassinating the president.
On the afternoon of March 30, 1981, at 2:27, these disparate figures collide with each other and history outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Hinckley fires six shots at Reagan and his entourage as they depart an event, striking a local police officer, a Secret Service agent, Brady and the president. The event sent the White House — and the nation — into a chaos that rewrote the course of history: The president’s popularity surged during his recovery, and the assassination attempt forever changed the intimate dynamics of his marriage.
“If Hinckley had never pulled that trigger — if he’d gotten the help he needed to deal with his mental health — this world might be a much different place now,” said Bill O’Reilly. “President Reagan was truly damaged in the early days of his presidency, and this horrific act turned his presidency on its head. It’s a riveting period of history, with effects that reverberated through the whole world.”
Click here to view the trailer
Killing Reagan will be produced for National Geographic Channels by Scott Free Productions. For Scott Free, Ridley Scott. David W. Zucker and Mary Lisio are executive producers, and Clayton Krueger is co-executive producer. Bill O’Reilly is also executive producer. For National Geographic Channels, Carolyn G. Bernstein is executive vice president and head of global scripted development and production.
For more information, visit www.ngcpr.com, or follow us on Twitter at @NGC_PR.
About National Geographic Channels
The National Geographic Channels (The Channels) form the television and production arm of National Geographic Partners, a joint venture between 21st Century Fox and the National Geographic Society. As a global leader in premium science, adventure and exploration programming, the Channels include: National Geographic Channel (NGC), Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo People and Nat Geo MUNDO. Additionally, the Channels also run the in-house television production unit, National Geographic Studios. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society’s commitment to exploration, conservation and education with entertaining, innovative programming from A-level talent around the world, and with profits that help support the society’s mission. Globally, NGC is available in more than 440 million homes in 171 countries and 45 languages, and Nat Geo WILD is available in 131 countries and 38 languages. National Geographic Partners is also a leader in social media, with a fan base of 250 million people across all of its social pages. NGC contributes over 55 million social media fans globally on Facebook alone. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com and www.natgeowild.com.
About Scott Free Productions
Scott Free Productions is the film and television production company of acclaimed film director Ridley Scott. In the 20 years since Scott Free was formed, the company has earned over 70 Emmy nominations with 20 wins, and 20 Golden Globe nominations for its highly acclaimed television projects, which include: the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated, Peabody-acclaimed drama, “The Good Wife,” which recently concluded its 7th and final season on CBS, as well as “Numb3rs,” which ran for six successful seasons on the same network. 2016 productions include a series adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s classic “The Man in the High Castle” for Amazon; the Civil War medical drama, “Mercy Street,” PBS’ first scripted series in over a decade; the CBS satirical summer series “Braindead”; an Amazon action-comedy half-hour pilot starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as “Jean-Claude Van Johnson”; the AMC historical anthology series “The Terror”; an online all-access spinoff of “The Good Wife”; and KILLING REAGAN, the fourth in the acclaimed National Geographic channel series of “Killing” telefilms (prior record-setting broadcasts include Killing Jesus and Killing Kennedy, both Emmy-nominated, plus the docudrama Killing Lincoln). Notable projects on the current development slate include “Strange Angel” for AMC, “Vatican City” for Amazon and “3001: The Final Odyssey” for Syfy, as well as limited series adaptations of “Blood & Thunder," the epic tale of Kit Carson and the conquering of the American West, and the best-selling nonfiction thriller “The Hot Zone."
Scott Free has produced a steady stream of highly acclaimed long form programs including “Klondike” for Discovery, the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated “The Pillars of the Earth” for Starz, “World Without End” for Reelz, Emmy-nominated “Into the Storm” for HBO, Emmy-nominated “The Andromeda Strain” and “Coma” for A&E, Golden Globe-nominated “The Company” at TNT and a feature-length digital series for X-Box/Microsoft, “Halo: Nightfall.” Notable nonfiction programs include “Crimes of the Century” and the Emmy-winning documentary special “Gettysburg” for History Channel.
With offices in Los Angeles and London, Scott Free works closely with RSA Films, one of the world’s largest and most successful commercial production houses in the world.