Screentime's mini-series The House of Hancock, based on the life of mining magnate Lang Hancock and featuring his daughter Gina Rinehart, is set to be filmed in Western Australia.
The production company's executive chairman, Des Monaghan, confirmed yesterday that Screentime was working with Foxtel on plans to set up a base in Perth later this year.
"This is months away yet, we've only just started to develop the process with Foxtel but if that all goes well, and Foxtel is happy, we will be producing the show in WA," he said.
He said Screentime - the makers of popular TV dramas Cloudstreet, the Underbelly franchise, and Brothers in Arms - hoped to work with ScreenWest on the story which would not only centre on Hancock but also the dawn of an Australian dynasty.
"We had such a good experience in WA when we did Cloudstreet at the old Sunset Hospital site, so I'd love to find an excuse to go back there because it's such a fabulous site," he said.
"Even though there's a lot of added expense in locating the production in WA, that's more than offset by the facilities and people and attitudes of everybody in WA."
The six-hour drama will be based on original research using a number of sources, including Fairfax journalist Adele Ferguson's bestselling unauthorised biography of Rinehart, who is Australia's richest person.
The drama will span Hancock's life from the ochre red outback of the Pilbara to the glamour of 1980s Perth and his marriage to then housekeeper Rose Porteous.
But Monaghan said the series wouldn't focus on Rinehart's recent court battles with her children.
"The story will be essentially about Lang and his remarkable daughter. The story will start before Gina's birth and will end just after Lang's death when Gina takes over," he said.
"We won't be dealing with the more recent events involving the family which have occupied so many column inches."
Ferguson will be a consultant on the project, which will be written by Michael Lucas, who last year won two Australian Writers' Guild Awards for his work on hit TV drama Offspring and the film Not Suitable for Children.
Casting announcements will be made in the coming months with Jacki Weaver, Mandy McElhinney, Gina Riley and Magda Szubanski believed to have been considered for the role of Rinehart.
Channel Nine is also working on a telemovie about the Hancock dynasty which has the working title Mother, Monster, Magnate.