Goodfellas Writer to Pen Scripted Ongoing Series for Discovery

The Five Families to launch on at least one Discovery Communications network

Cable conglomerate Discovery is getting made: The company has greenlit (for an unspecified network, and maybe even more than one) a miniseries called The Five Families, written by Goodfellas scribe Nicholas Pileggi and produced by Hollywood vet Irwin Winkler, who's had a hand in Martin Scorsese movies from Raging Bull to this fall's Oscar-season stock market drama, The Wolf of Wall Street.

Scant details were available because the deal is still in very early stages—Pileggi is still writing the pilot—but the show should hit some time in late Q2 or early Q3 of 2015. Interestingly, the company isn't pushing this one as a backdoor miniseries with a chance to become an ongoing show—it will definitely be "an open-ended series," said one person familiar with the deal, and that should make Goodfellas fans very happy.

The show takes place after before events of the acclaimed 1990 crime drama, which was itself based on Wiseguy, Pileggi's nonfiction book about mob informer Henry Hill. It will follow the travails of the five New York crime families—organizations known by the surnames Lucchese, Genovese, Gambino, Bonanno and Colombo—including their founding in the United States. It's a long and rich story—the families began operating in the U.S. in 1931 and were largely anonymous until the Valachi hearings in 1963.