Lee Daniels' 'The Spook Who Sat by the Door' Pilot Ordered by FX

Leigh Dana Jackson writes, with Gerard McMurray to direct

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FX has picked up a pilot for a series adaptation of Sam Greenlee’s “The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” the cable network announced Monday. Lee Daniels will executive produce the series.

The 1969 novel tells the fictional story of the first Black CIA officer hired by the agency in the late 1960s. Greenlee’s book, considered a major work of the Black nationalist movement during the civil rights era, was previously adapted for the screen in 1973, with Lawrence Cook starring as the novel’s protagonist, Dan Freeman.

Per FX, “The story chronicles the quest of Freeman, who was recruited as part of an affirmative-action program. After a very competitive selection process he trains in high-level combat and espionage. However, following this arduous training, this model recruit is rewarded with a post in the reprographics (aka photocopying) department, ‘left by the door’ as a token of the CIA’s ‘racial equality.’”

Daniels will executive produce through his company, Lee Daniels Television, which is headed up by Marc Velez. “Raising Dion” alum Leigh Dana Jackson will write the pilot and serve as showrunner, with Gerard McMurray set to direct. The pilot will be produced by 20th Television.

“‘The Spook Who Sat By the Door’ was my dad’s favorite book,” Daniels said in a statement. “He’d be so proud that I’m doing this and even prouder that I’m doing this with Gerard and Dana — two bold and brilliant Black storytellers.”

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