‘Alaska Daily’: Is Eileen Fitzgerald a Real Person?

Alaska Daily premieres on ABC on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, and fans are excited to see Hilary Swank step into the role of reporter Eileen Fitzgerald. The series takes Eileen out of New York and puts her in Alaska for investigative journalism, and we’re excited to see how the story unfolds. So, is Eileen Fitzgerald based on a real person? Here’s what we know.

The ‘Alaska Daily’ cast includes Hilary Swank as Eileen Fitzgerald

Hilary Swank as Eileen Fitzgerald in 'Alaska Daily'
Hilary Swank as Eileen Fitzgerald in ‘Alaska Daily’ | Darko Sikman via Getty Images

Alaska Daily tells the story of Eileen Fitzgerald. Eileen is a reporter who started at a New York newspaper but then finds herself working for The Daily Alaskan based in Anchorage. While the newspaper is facing difficult budget cuts, Hilary Swank’s character hopes to break the story about a string of murders happening in the city, Star Tribune reports.

“I love people who persevere through adversity,” Swank, the lead in the Alaska Daily cast, explained. “I want everyone to be seen and I think everyone deserves justice.”

Swank isn’t the only notable name attached to the show. Yahoo reports Jeff Perry plays Stanley Cornik, Matt Malloy plays Bob Young, Meredith Holzman plays Claire Muncy, Grace Dove plays Rosalind “Roz” Friendly, Pablo Castelblanco plays Gabriel Tovar, Ami Park plays Yuna Park, and Craig Frank plays Austin Teague.

Is Eileen Fitzgerald a real person?

Eileen Fitzgerald and Rosalind 'Roz' Friendly in 'Alaska Daily'
Eileen Fitzgerald and Rosalind ‘Roz’ Friendly | Sergei Bachlakov/ABC via Getty Images

Is Hilary Swank’s character in Alaska Daily, Eileen Fitzgerald, based on a real person?

Eileen only exists in the show, but other aspects of Alaska Daily have roots in reality. According to Anchorage Daily News, the newspaper in the show is lightly based on the Anchorage paper. But none of the characters in the show are directly based on specific people. Even the location where the central storyline takes place is fictional.

While the characters and the stories aren’t entirely factual, director Tom McCarthy spoke about making the series believable. “I felt like the thing I didn’t really get to explore was the personal lives of journalists, get to know who they are,” he explained. “And especially, I would say, in the last 10 years, the sort of rhetoric and vitriol directed specifically at journalists has really been amped up. … So I thought, man, what’s something I could do if I had an opportunity to make a TV show? And I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to really get to know who are these journalists, specifically involved in local journalism.”

Hilary Swank talked about her character experiencing ‘cancel culture’

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Eileen Fitzgerald gets fired from her New York journalism job in Alaska Daily. Hilary Swank reflected on this in an interview, as it speaks to a larger truth in the industry.

“I think we are living in a world right now that is very much about learning new ways of respecting people, and it’s exciting, it’s important, it’s timely,” Swank said, according to Newsweek. “I’m not speaking about Eileen specifically right now, I’m just talking about [cancel culture].”

“In her case, you know I don’t know if she had been a man would she have gotten canceled?” Swank continued. “I don’t really know, I don’t know the answer to the conversation. But she just speaks her mind and she was on a deadline, and she maybe was quicker than she should have been [to publish her story] but where’s the give and take in that?”

Alaska Daily premieres Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

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