Cable News: BBC Renews 'Musketeers,' Sundance Adds 'One Child' Mini, More
UPDATED: On the unscripted side, Esquire picks up "Friday Night Tykes" for a second season, A&E greenlights "The Herbert Brothers" and OWN sets a 10-part docuseries "Operation Change."
It's been a busy morning on the cable news front, with BBC and Sundance adding to their scripted haul and Esquire, A&E and OWN bulking up on unscripted fare.
First, BBC America has renewed drama The Musketeers for a second season ahead of its June 22 U.S. series premiere. The contemporary take on Alexandre Dumas' characters, the series is a co-production of BBC America and BBC Worldwide. Following the 10-episode first season, production will resume on the second season, which is slated for 2015. The series joins a roster of original programming including Doctor Who, In the Flesh, Orphan Black, Ripper Street and upcoming comedy Almost Royal.
Second, SundanceTV (formerly Sundance Channel) will co-produce the scripted miniseries One Child with BBC Worldwide North America. The four-hour entry hails from writer Guy Hibbert (Five Minutes of Heaven) and stars Harry Potter's Katie Leung. The series follows a Chinese-born woman who is adopted by British parents and struggles with who she really is in order to decide where her loyalty lies. Production begins in May in London and Taiwan, with the series slated to debut in late 2014. The series is BBC Worldwide's third high-profile deal with SundanceTV following Top of the Lake and the Maggie Gyllenhaal mini The Honourable Woman.
On the unscripted side, Esquire Network has renewed controversial docuseries Friday Night Tykes for a second season and has slated a special episode for April 1 featuring former NFL players, coaches and experts as well as the series' coaches and parents. “The first season of Friday Night Tykes sparked a national debate about competitive youth sports, and we think it’s important to continue that discussion with a second season of the series,” said Matt Hanna, Esquire's head of original programming. “At its heart, Friday Night Tykes is a series about parenting -- and the question about how hard we should push our children is an incredibly relevant one for parents across America.”
Meanwhile, A&E Network has picked up eight half-hour episodes of The Herbert Brothers from Zig Zag Productions. The series follows five brothers who launched an advertising empire after creating the No. 1 Super Bowl commercial. Production begins immediately with the series slated to bow in the summer. The five Herbert brothers took their $1 million winnings for creating the homemade commercial "Doritos Crash the Super Bowl" and launched an ad agency to develop commercials for companies including Pepsi, Go Daddy and more.
Over at OWN, the cable network has ordered 10-part docuseries Operation Change. The series, which will bow June 23 at 10 p.m., follows Bill and Tani Austin and their son, Steven Sawalich of the Starkey Hearing Foundation -- a global nonprofit that gives free hearing aids to those in need. They'll be joined by celebrities and philanthropists to tackle some of the most challenging issues facing our world today. The series will feature former President Bill Clinton, Richard Branson, Elton John, the Dalai Lama, Donna Karan and Harry Connick Jr., among others, who will each work to benefit a different region and local organization. Each week, Austin and his family and volunteers will partner with a different celebrity and group to empower a specific community. They'll work together to complete a sustainable project to help enhance the lives of people in need. The series hails from Articulus Entertainment, with Sawalich, Natalee Watts and Teri Weinberg exec producing. Melinda Cea co-exec produces.