HBO News Blog

HBO and Playtone Creating FACTORY MAN Miniseries

By Jef Dinsmore on Sep 19, 2014 to HBO News

PlayToneCo-logoThe Playtone Company is at it again! The production company that brought us the miniseries’ FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON, BAND OF BROTHERS, THE PACIFIC and JOHN ADAMS, plus the series BIG LOVE and HBO Films GAME CHANGE has another project in development. It is called FACTORY MAN.

FACTORY MAN will be a miniseries about the state of American jobs in the face of the outsourcing trend that has become the norm. It is based on a nonfiction book about the economic practice entitled “Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled OffShoring, Stayed Local – And Helped Save An American Town.”  The New York Times review stated – “Nonfiction storytelling at its finest…. It does what the best business books should: It delivers a heavily researched, highly entertaining story, at the end of which you realize you’ve learned something…. This is a great American story, the kind that we don’t read often enough.”—Bryan Burrough, New York Times.  The book’s premise is described as follows:

The Bassett Furniture Company was once the world’s biggest wood furniture manufacturer. Run by the same powerful Virginia family for generations, it was also the center of life in Bassett, Virginia. But beginning in the 1980s, the first waves of Asian competitioFactoryMan-Bookn hit, and ultimately Bassett was forced to send its production overseas.


One man fought back: John Bassett III, a shrewd and determined third-generation factory man, now chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co, which employs more than 700 Virginians and has sales of more than $90 million. In FACTORY MAN, Beth Macy brings to life Bassett’s deeply personal furniture and family story, along with a host of characters from an industry that was as cutthroat as it was colorful. As she shows how he uses legal maneuvers, factory efficiencies, and sheer grit and cunning to save hundreds of jobs, she also reveals the truth about modern industry in America.

It will be interesting to see if this production films in Virginia or is outsourced to Canada or elsewhere! Don’t be deceived if it sounds like a dry topic as this is not the first time a non-fiction book is being adapted. SHOW ME A HERO is getting the same type of treatment by David Simon. As for Playtone, it is one busy company and certainly likes working with HBO. It is behind the upcoming OLIVE KITTRIDGE miniseries, the Lewis and Clark miniseries and the companion piece to the WWII masterpieces tentatively called MASTERS OF THE AIR. More news from Tom Hanks/Gary Goetzman run Playtone and this project as it becomes available.


(Source: Amazon, Deadline)

  • Eleonora Iafano

    This is one I’m definitely going to watch. My husband and I are huge believers in supporting local businesses. We purchase our eggs from a farm where the animals are treated respectfully and ethically, we purchase fruits and vegetables from a farmer’s market where we know the farming families. It keeps families working and that grass roots community support thriving.

  • Jojocotto

    Cool news! Wow Playtone keeps adding projects faster than they’re getting released. The subject of outsourcing seems like the biggest under-reported story of the past several decades. Would love to see Hanks actually star in one of these tv projects in addition to producing.

    • Jef Dinsmore

      Now wouldn’t that be something.

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