You've surely heard about the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic, the trailer of which came out last week.
But as fascinating as yet another look into Jobs' life will be, it likely won't hold a candle to Spike TV's forthcoming six-part series on the life of John McAfee, announced today and slated to air at an unspecified point in 2016.
If you don't know who McAfee is, you might if you append "anti-virus" to his name. A software pioneer who founded his self-titled security-technology company in 1987, McAfee built his enterprise into a $500-million powerhouse by the time he exited in 1994.
McAfee then founded an instant messaging platform called Tribal Voice. In 1999, he sold it for $17 million. Meanwhile, McAfee the company became an eminent brand in online security, a $2-billion, 6,100-employee colossus which Intel acquired in 2010 for $7.68 billion.
An Entrepreneur, and Then Some
Strictly on the basis of the companies he built, you might think McAfee would provide a fruitful topic for a biopic. You'd be right.
And yet, there's so much more to his story, and to why Spike deems his adventures worthy of documentation.
In 2007, McAfee moved to Belize to start a new life, a transition chronicled marvelously by Jeff Wise in Fast Company in 2010. Less than two years later, he found himself in the middle of a manhunt. Belize police had named him a "person of interest" (not a suspect) after the murder of his neighbor. Spike's announcement about the TV series includes a marvelous summary of the intrigue:
McAfee went on the run for three weeks before crossing the border into Guatemala. He was detained by Guatemalan authorities soon after entry, and was soon fighting against deportation to Belize. McAfee claims the police and drug cartels in Belize were out to kill him thus the escape to Guatemala... Following a lengthy legal battle, he was deported to the United States while his home in Belize mysteriously burned to the ground.
Now that's riveting television. The six-part documentary, tentatively titled "The McAfee Project," will include first-person interviews with McAfee and those close to him, along with reenactments of his life.
Those interviews, however, have not yet taken place. "We haven't begun production yet--and haven't determined an air date--we can keep you posted," Spike's David Schwarz told Inc. in an email. Asked if the 2016 air date in the announcement was just an estimate, Schwarz replied, "That's our plan as of now."
Whenever it airs, it's bound to be fascinating.