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AUG
22
11 MOS

'North and South' Miniseries in the Works at Discovery

UPDATED: The Lionsgate-produced entry is based on the trilogy of novels by John Jakes.

North and South Trilogy John Jakes Cover - P 2013

Discovery has set its next scripted miniseries.

With Klondike on the horizon, the cable network announced Thursday that it is developing a new take on John Jakes' best-selling book trilogy North and South. Jakes will executive produce the mini.

North and South will tell the epic story of two families -- the Hazard family, northern factory owners from Pennsylvania, and the Main family, southern plantation owners. The story begins when lead characters George Hazard and Orry Main meet as young men at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The Hazard and the Main families become close, brought together in bonds of friendship and affection that neither jealousy nor violence can shatter.

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At a time when great technological advancements were made and social and political groups worked for anti-slavery legislation as well as women's equality, the economic foundation of the country began to rapidly change. Spanning three generations and chronicling the lives and loves of two great family dynasties, North and South shows the vastly different ways of life for the Main and Hazard families that threaten to drive them apart, fracture marriages and poison sibling relationships. They are put to the ultimate test as fathers, sons, brothers and friends fight each other on the battlefields of the deadliest war America has ever seen.

This marks the latest effort to bring North and South to the small screen. ABC broadcast a six-part miniseries over three years in 1985, 1986 and 1994 starring Patrick Swayze as Orry Main. The saga remains TV's highest-rated miniseries to date.

For Discovery, North and South marks its second miniseries as the cable network ramps up on original scripted material. The net greenlighted gold-mining scripted mini Klondike in December. Discovery also is prepping its second mini -- an adaptation of Nigel Tranter's The Wallace and The Bruce Trilogy -- which like Klondike, hails from Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions.

The mini is a co-production between Discovery and Lionsgate. Jakes is repped by Joel Gotler of IPG and Frank Curtis of Rembar & Curtis.

This marks the latest in a wave of scripted miniseries as both cable and broadcast networks look to lure top talent, awards season buzz and eyeballs in a push to create DVR-proof "event" viewing.

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit