Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe will play disgraced Fox News founder Roger Ailes in an eight-episode limited series. Based on Gabriel Sherman’s best-selling biography The Loudest Voice in the Room (2014), the series will be aired on American cable network Showtime. This will be Crowe’s first American television show.

Ailes co-founded Fox News with Rupert Murdoch in 1996 and headed the conservative television channel for two decades. He left Fox News in 2016 after he was accused of sexual harassment by at least 20 women, including former Fox host Gretchen Carlson, who claimed that Ailes had fired her after she refused to have sex with him. Ailes denied the allegations. He then served as advisor to Donald Trump before the 2016 presidential debates. He had also been a media consultant to former Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon before his Fox News tenure. Alies died of a subdural haematoma aged 77 on May 18, 2017.

“To understand the events that led to the rise of Donald Trump, one must understand Ailes,” Showtime said in a statement. “The upcoming limited series takes on that challenge, focusing primarily on the past decade in which Ailes arguably became the Republican Party’s de facto leader.”

The series will focus on Alies’s journey from local TV producer to Fox News head, narrating the rise and fall of one of the most influential voices in American news. Sherman has co-written the pilot with Spotlight (2015) director Tom McCarthy. The executive producers are McCarthy and Get Out producer Jason Blum.

“In many ways, the collision between the media and politics has come to define the world we live in today,” Showtime President David Nevins said. “With Russell Crowe in the lead role, this limited series promises to be a defining story for this era.”

Crowe won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Gladiator (2000), and was also nominated for the Oscar for The Insider (1999) and A Beautiful Mind (2001). He has also received five Golden Globe Award nominations, three BAFTA Award nominations and three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, winning one award each. Crowe was last seen in Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy (2017) and Netflix’s War Machine (2017).