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EXCLUSIVE: Charter Communications continues to ramp up the original scripted series slate for its Spectrum cable systems. I have learned that the company is in advanced negotiations with Lionsgate Television for a two-season order to anthology series Manhunt. I hear the first of the two 10-episode seasons would chronicle the manhunt for domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph, known as the Olympic Park Bomber. It will be shepherded by the core creative team behind Manhunt: Unabomber, led by executive producer John Goldwyn and writer/executive producer Andrew Sodroski. Reps for Charter and Lionsgate declined comment.
Manhunt was originally set at Discovery Channel with its first installment, the 2017 Unabomber, marking the cable network’s first limited scripted series. Manhunt: Unabomber, starring Sam Worthington and Paul Bettany, drew strong reviews, delivered respectable numbers on Discovery and reportedly also did well in its SVOD window on Netflix. But in a Discovery Channel programming strategy change unveiled by Discovery CEO David Zaslav earlier this year, the network opted to get out of the scripted arena and focus on its core unscripted business. As a result, Discovery Channel did not proceed with a second installment of Manhunt.
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Lionsgate, the studio behind the limited series, shopped it to other buyers, and I hear Charter Communications pursued the project aggressively. Charter signaled its entrance in the original scripted series arena by signing co-production deals with AMC Networks and Viacom and by hiring seasoned TV executive Katherine Pope to lead its original content efforts by securing rights on a cost-effective basis. Charter already produces programming via its regional sports networks and its exclusive Spectrum News services. And last month, the company closed a deal for a 13-episode series order to LA’s Finest, the Bad Boys offshoot drama starring Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba, which had been originally piloted by NBC.
Lionsgate itself has network...
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