Bill Clinton's The President Is Missing Series Cancelled at Showtime Due to COVID-19

The President Is Missing - the planned television adaptation of Bill Clinton and James Patterson's mystery novel - will apparently be missing from Showtime's upcoming roster of shows. According to a new report from Variety, Showtime has elected not to move forward with the pilot for the series, which would have starred David Oyelowo. The news was initially broken by one of Oyelowo's costars, Ann Dowd, who chalked the decision up to both the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and current political events.

“[Production] stopped midway and then because of the pandemic, the relevance of it, things needed to be changed in the writing because of what happens to the President," Dowd revealed. "It just wouldn’t have worked. It would have had to have been re-conceived."

This news comes almost three years after the The President Is Missing series was first announced, with Showtime acquiring the rights prior to the book's publication. The report indicates that the series could ultimately move forward at another network or streaming platform, although it is unclear exactly which one at this point.

“Bringing The President Is Missing to Showtime is a coup of the highest order,” Showtime president and CEO David Nevins said at the time of the series' announcement. “The pairing of President Clinton with fiction’s most gripping storyteller promises a kinetic experience, one that the book world has salivated over for months and that now will dovetail perfectly into a politically relevant, character-based action series for our network.”

“I’m really enjoying writing this book and working with Jim,” Clinton said in a statement at the time. “And I can’t wait to see Showtime bring the characters to life.”

The President Is Missing centered around powerless and politically aimless Vice President James Martin (Oyelowo), who is unexpectedly elevated to the Oval Office when President Jillian Stroud (Dowd) goes missing, despite his every wish to the contrary. He walks right into a secret, world-threatening crisis, both inside and outside the White House. The series would also star Michael Rooker, Janet McTeer, Medina Senghore, Paul Adelstein, and Gina Gallego.


Anthony Peckham wrote the script for the pilot and executive produced alongside Oyelowo, Clinton, Patterson, Bill Robinson, Leopoldo Gout, Christopher McQuarrie, and Heather McQuarrie. Jillian Share was on board as co-executive producing.

What do you think of The President Is Missing TV show being canned at Showtime? Do you hope the series lives on elsewhere? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!