Showtime's 'Billions' pits hedge fund titans against U.S. attorney

LOS ANGELES Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:52am IST

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Will "Billions" be to Wall Street what "House of Cards" is to Washington?

Premium cable network Showtime said on Thursday it ordered a pilot of a fictional drama that "focuses on the collision and, at times, collusion between an aggressive U.S. attorney in New York and some of the richest hedge fund billionaires in the country."

The script is by New York Times columnist and CNBC anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin, and Brian Koppelman and David Levien, writing partners on films such as "Ocean's Thirteen" and "Rounders." Sorkin wrote the 2009 book "Too Big to Fail: How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Finance System - and Themselves."

Showtime said "Billions" was its first pilot pickup of the year, but did not give details of its plans for what it called "a new complex, contemporary drama."

The CBS Corp-owned (CBS.N) channel has made waves in television drama with hits such as "Homeland" and "Dexter," but faces competition from Time Warner Inc's (TWX.N) HBO and more recently, Netflix Inc (NFLX.O), the online streaming company behind the acclaimed political thriller "House of Cards."

Netflix does not release viewership figures for "House of Cards," but many in Washington's political circles have been mesmerized by the skullduggery of the fictitious Vice President Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey. Even President Barack Obama's Twitter feed begged fans not to reveal plot spoilers when the second season was released last month.

(Reporting By Mary Milliken)

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