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David Simon, Ed Burns Adapt Philip Roth in HBO’s ‘The Plot Against America’

HBO premieres limited series The Plot Against America, based on the Philip Roth novel, March 16. David Simon and Ed Burns, creators of The Wire, created the project, which imagines an alternate American history during World War II, told through the eyes of a working-class Jewish family in New Jersey as they endure the political rise of Charles Lindbergh, famed pilot and xenophobic populist, who becomes president and turns the nation toward fascism.

There are six episodes.

Zoe Kazan, Morgan Spector, Winona Ryder, John Turturro and Anthony Boyle are in the cast.

“As one of our greatest novelists, Philip Roth was generally more known for narratives that went directly to the human heart and the human condition,” said Simon. “But with Plot, he delivered an emotionally moving political tract about our country taking a dry run at totalitarianism and intolerance. That it was published in 2004 makes it no less prescient a document at this moment in time. Roth was warning us that it can happen here. And it can.”

Roth’s novels include The Human Stain, American Pastoral and Goodbye, Columbus. He died in 2018.

The premiere episode takes place during the 1940 election, with Franklin Roosevelt challenged by Lindbergh for the big job.

Minkie Spiro and Thomas Schlamme direct.

Simon, Burns, Nina K. Noble, Megan Ellison, Sue Naegle, Susan Goldberg, Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum are executive producers.

The Plot Against America marks the seventh collaboration between HBO and Simon-Noble, the list including The Deuce, Treme and Show Me a Hero

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.