MIPCOM: National Geographic, Relativity and Tandem Greenlight 'Act of Valor' Series
CANNES – National Geographic Channel U.S., Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity Studios and Germany-based production group Tandem Communications will join forces to produce Act of Valor, a new action drama that will mark the first scripted series for both Relativity and National Geographic.
Inspired by Relativity's 2012 feature film of the same name, Act of Valor will focus on pararescuemen, or PJs, the unsung heroes of the U.S. special forces who parachute in to rescue people in combat and humanitarian emergencies.
Erik Jendresen, a supervising producer of HBO's Band of Brothers, will write the series, which begins shooting in early 2014. Tandem, which is owned by French media giant StudioCanal, will act as the studio for the production and handle international sales on the project.
"The film Act of Valor was ground-breaking in its unique approach, and we look forward to applying its gritty, realistic vision to television," said Tom Forman, CEO of Relativity Television.
For National Geographic, the move into scripted drama follows its success with factually based, and Emmy-nominated TV movies including Killing Lincoln, SEAL Team Six and the upcoming Killing Kennedy starring Rob Lowe.
"With the incredible success of our original scripted feature films, we are expanding our offerings with a high-quality scripted series we know will resonate with our viewers," said Howard Owens, president of National Geographic Channels. "After the success of our documentary series Inside Combat Rescue about PJs in Afghanistan, we wanted to tell more incredible stories of these heroes, and this series will allow us to do so in an exciting and dramatic way, while still delivering real, authentic stories our viewers expect from us."
Tandem will be pitching Act of Valor to international buyers at MIPCOM.
Kavanaugh is set to deliver a MIPCOM Media Mastermind keynote in Cannes on Tuesday, Oct. 8.