This year will mark the 52nd anniversary of the definitive fight between boxing legend Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. An iconic fight in the light heavyweight’s career. But what went on when the boxer, best known to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, wasn’t in the ring? That’s what Peacock is bringing to viewers in an 8-part scripted docuseries based on Johnathan Eig‘s biography, “Ali: A Life.”
Titled “Excellence: 8 Fights,” the docuseries covers eight of the most defining moments of Ali’s career. But it won’t simply be a copy-paste of those fights. Rather, the series will focus on the internal struggle and drama surrounding life outside of the ring. The project will be headed up by “BlackkKlansman“‘s co-writer Kevin Willmott, Regé-Jean Page (“Bridgerton“), Emily Brown, and Morgan Freeman with Lori McCreary via their Revelations Entertainment banner. Eig will also serve as a producer, with CBS Studios and UCP.
This series, which is being developed for NBC streaming service Peacock, has been a big passion project for Revelations. Enough that CBS Studios bought the film rights for Eig’s book all the way back when it was published in 2017. There’s been some rocky terrain in getting here, however. Writer Dan Kay was to create a similar series for CBS All Access in 2018, which clearly didn’t pan out.
With Willmott at the helm, the project has been significantly revamped and reworked. There’s no information as to casting for the project yet. While some expect Page may end up portraying the prolific boxer, we can only speculate until its release.