Muhammad Ali TV Show in the Works at Peacock
A new show about Muhammad Ali is in the works. According to Deadline, Peacock is developing Excellence: 8 Fights, a scripted eight-part season about the boxing legend. The series will be based on the book Ali: A Life by Jonathan Eig. Bridegerton star Regé-Jean Page is an executive producer and producing the series with Emily Brown. There is no deal in place for Page to star as Ali. The project is also being developed by BlackKklansman co-writer Kevin Willmott, Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary's Revelations Entertainment.
Excellence: 8 Fights will take a look at eight fights and defining moments in Ali's life. Each episode will be framed around one of his fights, but the episode will really be able about the drama outside the ring. The series will look at the struggle going on in the mind of Ali who was one of the more outspoken athletes in history.
Willmott wrote the script and is an executive producer on the series along with Freeman and McCreary. Revelations Entertainment acquired Eig's book shortly after it was published in 2017 and was looking to develop the story into a series. Originally, the show was going to air on CBS All Access with Dan Kay writing the script. But Deadline says the pitch for the show has been revamped with Willmott joining as a writer and executive producer and Page and executive producer.
Ali had a career boxing record of 56-6 with his last match happening in 1981. He won his first 31 matches before losing to Joe Frazier in 1971. In his career, Ali was the WBA, WBC and The Ring Heavyweight Champion and won all three titles by beating George Foreman in 1974. Ali lost the teams to Leon Spinks in 1978 but regained them a few months later by beating Spinks via unanimous decision. In 1999, Sports Illustrated named Ali the Sportsman of the Century and some experts considered him the best athlete of all time. He died in 2016.
"Muhammad Ali was a god, an idol and an icon," boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard said in an interview with ABC Sports. "He was boxing. Any kid that had the opportunity to talk to Ali, to get advice from Muhammad Ali, was privileged. He's always given me time to ask questions although I was so in awe that I didn't ask questions. I would have a million questions to ask him but when I met him face to face nothing came out. He transcended the sport of boxing, and he took boxing to a whole new level, as far as entertainment is concerned."