9:42am PT by Lesley Goldberg
King Tut Miniseries Gets Green Light at Spike TV
It's official: Spike TV is returning to scripted programming.
The male-skewing cable network has given the green light to Tut, a six-hour miniseries first developed in September.
The Viacom-owned cabler made the announcement Monday, noting that the limited series is based on the story of Tutankhamun, otherwise known as King Tut. Tut hails from Muse Entertainment, best known for Emmy-nominated The Kennedys as well as Pillars of the Earth. The company's Joel S. Rice and Michael Prupas as well as Greg Gugliotta (The Fosters) will executive produce alongside writer Michael Vickerman (Impact), Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige (The Fosters) and Elice Island's Jeremy Elice and Angela Mancuso (Spartacus, Helen of Troy). Irene Litinsky (Being Human) serves as producer.
The six-part drama combines the turmoil, power struggles, political backstabbing, war and murder that existed during King Tut's reign as the youngest Pharaoh to rule ancient Egypt. The series is based on recently discovered historical evidence about Tut.
"We are thrilled to join forces with Muse Entertainment and this incredible writing team to bring the amazing story of one of history's legendary leaders to life," Spike exec vp original series Sharon Levy said. "Tut is the perfect addition to our slate of distinctive originals that appeal to a broad audience."
Tut's formal description reads: "Tut reveals, for the first time on television, the story of the Egyptian Pharaoh, one of the most renowned leaders in human history. This ambitious special-event series tells the story of Tut's rise to power and his struggle to lead Egypt to glory, while his closest advisers, friends and lovers scheme for their own nefarious interests. Tut opens up a fascinating window into a world filled with heartbreaking romance, epic battles, political backstabbing, conspiracy, jealousy and even murder -- proving his world was not far removed from our own and that his reign as the youngest Egyptian king played out as a real-life drama for the ages."
Tut comes as the cabler has been developing five other event series in an effort to re-enter scripted territory, as such miniseries continue to be hot properties on both broadcast and cable. History and Discovery have found success in scripted miniseries, following the popularity of Hatfields & McCoys and The Bible, as lower risks are associated with more limited fare.
The move marks Spike's first attempt at a mini since its July 2007 event series The Kill Point and first original scripted entry since Blue Mountain State, which ended its three-season run in November 2011. Tut will premiere in 2015, with production starting in the fall in Morocco and Canada.