Days after last year’s upfront in New York, History‘s Hatfields & McCoys burst onto the scene, shattering ratings records and reviving the limited-event series form. Over the last 12 months, event series have continued to gain momentum, with History launching another blockbuster in The Bible, and Fox, FX and Spike announcing big pushes in the arena. The genre also has been factoring into the network’s ongoing pilot discussions and may have presence at the upfronts next week. “It seems to be the du jour concept these days,” one industry insider said. “If you call a drama a limited event series, you maintain series options on the actors while at the same time maintain the project’s international value. And if you market them well, they bring in audience.”
One of the highest-profile drama prospects for next season, ABC’s Once Upon A Time spinoff, has been developed as a limited series to air 13-episode arcs every season in the vein of FX’s American Horror Story. Such a potential scenario also has been mentioned for a number of other serialized/high-concept drama pilots should they get a series order: ABC’s Gothica and Big Thunder, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow and CBS’ Hostages. CBS already is branching into the genre this coming summer with Under The Dome, originally developed as a regular series. The CW, whose president Mark Pedowitz last season was among the first to embrace the concept, did midseason entry Cult as a limited-type series and is looking to do more next season, with The Selection among those considered for a limited run. Fox’s The Following and ABC’s Red Widow too had been conceived with cable-style shorter seasons in mind. READ MORE »
The History 10-part miniseries The Bible sold more than 525,000 units in its first week on shelves, already establishing itself as the best-selling mini of all time on Blu-ray and DVD and the best-selling TV on … Read More »
The miniseries from Mark Burnett and wife Roma Downey is scoring in the ratings for History, drawing 13.1 million viewers in its premiere episode and holding strong ahead of its final episode Sunday. But that makes The Bible fair game for The Colbert Report host, who … Read More »
UPDATE, 10:15 AM: History and The Bible executive producers, husband and wife Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, just addressed the Obama-Satan controversy. “History channel has the highest respect for President Obama,” the network said in a statement. “The series was produced with an international and diverse cast of respected actors. It’s unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. History’s The Bible is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history.”
Burnett and Downey used stronger language in dismissing the connection, suggesting that the actor playing the Devil may have been simply type cast. “This is utter nonsense,” they said. “The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouzaani, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics — including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our President.” Added Downey: “Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our President, who is a fellow Christian. False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of The Bible.”
PREVIOUS 7:15 AM: History’s hit miniseries The Bible had its 3rd installment last night. It’s already been taken to task for its use of beautiful actors in all key roles. Now the project’s casting choice for the role of Satan has come under fire for the apparent resemblance of Moroccan actor Mehdi Ouazzani to President Barack Obama. Read More »
Dirk Hoogstra has been promoted to EVP, Development and Programming, for History and H2. Hoogstra, who previously served as SVP, Development and Programming since 2010, will continue to report to Nancy Dubuc, President Entertainment and Media, … Read More »
Post-production editors on History’s Swamp People walked off the job today in protest over producers trying to stymie union organizing. #STRIKE! Until further notice, Editors Guild and potential members are instructed not to service the … Read More »
History‘s first original scripted series Vikings premieres March 3 at 10 PM. It is set for nine episodes and follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), his ambitions to discover civilizations across the great ocean to the west, and the inevitable conflicts that arise along the … Read More »
History‘s first original scripted series, Vikings, will debut on Sunday, March 3 at 10 PM. A family saga at heart, the nine-episode drama follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), a curious, compelling man who is always looking to break through barriers and discover new worlds to … Read More »
History has announced that its five-part docudrama series The Bible will premiere on March 3 at 8 PM. The 10-hour special, executive produced by Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey (who plays Mary), combines live action and CGI to tell the best-known stories of the word’s most popular book. Keith David narrates the series, which Burnett has been working on for two years and which was greenlighted in May 2011. Also in the cast is Portugal’s Diogo Morgado as Jesus and UK-based actors including Sean Teale (Skins), David Rintoul (My Week with Marilyn), Amber Rose Revah (The Borgias), Peter Guinness, Greg Hicks and Simon Kunz (Matchpoint). Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: As History‘s blockbuster Hatfields & McCoys miniseries is making its final rounds on the awards circle with strong showings at the Golden Globe, SAG and WGA nominations, the network is looking to extend the hit franchise on the unscripted side. I’ve learned that History is developing a reality series featuring the descendants of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Details about the series, produced by Wild Eyes Prods. (Bullproof, Living Large), are being kept under wraps, but it is safe to assume that the contemporary Hatfields and McCoys will no longer be feuding.
Seven decades ago, the descendants of the two clans whose bloody clash rocked the Tug Valley area between Kentucky and West Virginia post-Civil War were showcased in Life magazine to attest that the two families had buried the hatchet. (At left is a photograph used in the 1944 story featuring Shirley Hatfield and Frankie McCoy, working together in a local military factory) And in 2003, descendants of the Hatfield and McCoy families gathered in Pikeville, KY to sign a truce for a symbolic and official end to the feud that claimed at least a dozen lives. The proclamation was signed by more than 60 descendants during the fourth Hatfield-McCoy Festival, with Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton and West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise declaring June 14 Hatfield and McCoy Reconciliation Day. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of the blockbuster success of Hatfields & McCoys, History has teamed with two key auspices behind the miniseries — executive producer Leslie Greif and co-writer Ted Mann — for another six-hour mini set during America’s turbulent 19th century.
History is developing Texas Rising, a miniseries about the formation and rise of the Texas Rangers, the oldest law enforcement organization in North America. It will chronicle the force’s humble beginnings — its creation was triggered by a call-to-arms penned by Stephen F. Austin in 1823 — as well as its role during Texas’ secession from the U.S. during the Civil War. Mann will write the mini, with Greif executive producing.
Mann, repped by APA and attorney Tom Hoberman, recently joined the second season of Starz’ period drama Magic City after serving as co-executive producer on the pay cable network’s first drama series Crash and the upcoming Da Vinci’s Demons. His credits also include HBO’s dark Western Deadwood and ABC’s NYPD Blue. Read More »
A+E Networks UK has greenlighted a UK version of History‘s flagship series Pawn Stars. The series, which will air on History UK, has received an eight-episode order. It will be produced by New York-based Leftfield Pictures, producer of … Read More »