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Showtime Near Deal for Posner Book

Dec 22, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Showtime Networks is near an agreement to acquire Gerald Posner’s controversial best seller “Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11,” sources close to the deal said.
The book is an exhaustive chronicle of two decades of intelligence failures and political bungling that preceded the September 11 terrorist attacks. In “Why America Slept,” Mr. Posner is critical of leaders from both political parties, whom he faults for failing to avert the tragedy.
Showtime plans to adapt the book into a four- or six-hour dramatic miniseries. The project would be among the first literary acquisitions since Robert Greenblatt became Showtime’s president of entertainment in June. There is no script written yet for the project.
One network insider likened the adaptation to a terrorism version of “And the Band Played On,” referring to the behind-the-scenes AIDS crisis best-seller that HBO adapted to popular acclaim in 1993.
“Why America Slept” is a frustrating account of missed opportunities and routine errors by U.S. intelligence operatives responsible for monitoring and preventing terrorist activities. The book climaxes with a post-9/11 CIA interview of a captured Al Qaeda leader who implicates members of the Saudi royal family as sponsors of the attacks.
A Wall Street attorney turned free-lance journalist, Mr. Posner also wrote “Case Closed,” which investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and “Killing the Dream,” which examined the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. He lives in New York and Miami with his wife, author Trisha Posner, who works with him on all his projects.
“Why America Slept” received mostly positive reviews when it was published this fall. “Posner, who is best-known for his book debunking the conspiracy theories that stick to the John F. Kennedy assassination like flies, breaks significant new ground in this sad tale by creating a conspiracy theory,” wrote book reviewer Tony Freemantle in the Houston Chronicle.
Time magazine said it read like a “techno-thriller.” The New York Times declared it “one of the best” books that came out of the 9/11 tragedy.
In recent months Showtime has taken other steps suggesting an inclination for serious, nonfiction programming. The network created “Sho Exposure,” a program that will show a new documentary each month, and announced an original movie based on the fall of New York Times reporter Jayson Blair.