Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Showtime entertainment president David Nevins is getting back in business with his former company Imagine TV in a big way. Showtime has put in development Conquest, a sweeping period drama that has been a passion project of Imagine principal Ron Howard. Oscar-winner Howard is attached to direct Conquest, which will be written by Oscar-nominated scribe Jose Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries). Conquest, from Imagine TV and 20th Century Fox TV’s cable division Fox21, tells the story of famed Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes, who led the Spanish conquest in Mexico, and his clash with Moctezuma II, the last ruler of the Aztec Empire which fell at the hands of Cortes and his men. Filled with blood, lust, gold, magic and mythology, Conquest is described as “a classic war story about two powerful men and their people ultimately leading to the destruction of the Aztec culture and the men themselves.”

Imagine partners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer executive produce with Rivera and Imagine TV president Francie Calfo. Veteran Star Trek writer Hans Beimler, who was born in Mexico City, will serve as a consultant because of his knowledge of Aztec/Mexican history. Beimler worked with Howard over the years doing research on Cortes, initially for a feature. They ultimately found the project more suited to cable series and took it to Nevins, who had known of Howard’s passion for the subject from his years as Imagine TV president. The two sides waited for Rivera to become available and brought him on board to write.

This marks Nevins’ first major collaboration with Imagine TV, which he left in Summer 2010 to take the Showtime job. His first major buy after he started at the pay cable network was another drama project from Fox21, Homeland, which went on to become a breakout commercial and critical hit. This marks WME-repped Rivera’s return to television, where he co-created the 1991 NBC series Eerie, Indiana.

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