Period Drama From 'Walk the Line' Director Gets USA Pilot Order

James Mangold will exec-produce the Universal Cable Productions pilot with creator Tony Tost ('Longmire').
Getty Images; @tonytost/Twitter

USA Network is looking to the past for its latest pilot order.

The NBCUniversal cable network has greenlit the period drama pilot Damnation, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Described as an epic saga of the secret history of the 1930s American heartland, the project centers on the mythic conflict and bloody struggle between big money and the downtrodden, God and greed, charlatans and prophets. The pilot follows Seth Davenport, a man masquerading as a small town Iowa preacher in the hopes of starting a full-blown insurrection against the status quo. Focused on his mission, he is unaware that an industrialist tycoon has hired a professional strikebreaker named Creeley Turner to stop the uprising by any means necessary. But unbeknownst to those around them, these two men already share a secret bloody past. 

Tony Tost (Longmire) wrote the pilot and will exec produce with James Mangold (Walk the Line), and Guymon Casady (Game of Thrones) and Daniel Rappaport (Office Space) on behalf of Entertainment 360. Damnation will be produced by Universal Cable Productions.

Damnation marks the first pilot greenlit by NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment's newly formed scripted content group led by evp Bill McGoldrick. The group was formed as part of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group chairman Bonnie Hammer's massive overhaul announced in February.

“Tony’s script captures a period of American history with many of the same conflicts that we are still facing today,” McGoldrick said. “We are thrilled to collaborate with Universal Cable Productions, James Mangold and Entertainment 360 on this powerful and ambitious historical drama."

Damnation is the latest pilot order for USA Network after the cabler passed on several other pilots, including The Wilding from Heroes' Tim Kring, Poor Richard's Almanac from Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik and Brooklyn Animal Control, based on the comic of the same name, which will be redeveloped.

USA Network has been pushing towards edgier fare in the last year since Mr. Robot launched to critical acclaim last June. Since then, USA has debuted a new slogan  "We the Bold"  ahead of several new series premieres including Queen of the South, which debuted last week, the upcoming Shooter remake and Falling Water.

 

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