11:00am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Discovery Greenlights Unabomber Drama 'Manifesto' From Kevin Spacey, Dana Brunetti
Discovery Channel has given the green light to Manifesto, a scripted series from Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti's Trigger Street Productions that will focus on the FBI's efforts to bring down "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski.
The series, which was previously announced when it went into development, will trace how FBI agent Jim "Fitz" Fitzgerald took a radical new approach to intelligence gathering during his investigation into the case. Because of his training in linguistics, Fitzgerald believed that the key to unlocking the true identity of the Unabomber would be found in the language of The Manifesto, a detailed account of some of Kaczynski's plots.
The pilot was written by Andrew Sodroski, with Spacey, Brunetti and Troy Searer executive producing. John Goldwyn is executive producer for Discovery. A premiere date has not yet been announced.
The green light comes amid a renaissance for true-crime programming, as shows such as HBO's The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, FX's The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Netflix's Making a Murderer and the podcast Serial have all connected with audiences.
Discovery also has another scripted drama in the works, Harley and the Davidsons, about the history of Harley-Davidson. It went into production this month and will premiere later this year. The network first entered the scripted space with 2014's Klondike.
Manifesto was one of several series unveiled Thursday during Discovery's upfront presentations to advertisers, which also included the previously announced Cooper's Treasure, which The Hollywood Reporter first reported Wednesday; spinoff Deadliest Catch: Dungeon Cove; motorcycle show Sacred Steel; and survivor show The Wheel.
Several other Discovery Communications-owned networks also announced a slew of new programming Thursday. Some highlights:
— In addition to the miniseries Hard Evidence: O.J. Is Innocent, from Martin Sheen, which THR first reported Wednesday, Investigation Discovery announced Murder Chose Me, following homicide detective Rod Demery as he tries to solve murder cases in Shreveport, La.; and The Detectives Club: New Orleans, about a group of retired detectives from the New Orleans area who will take viewers inside their most difficult murder cases from the 1990s through the 2000s.
— TLC — whose new series include its first scripted drama, Too Close to Home, from Tyler Perry, as THR first reported — announced new series Project Playhouse, featuring Tyson and Audy Leavitt, who create elaborate, over-the-top playhouses out of their family-run shop; Hidden Money Makeover, wherein design expert Jill Martin and handyman Gage Cass help homeowners make money off their clutter to redo parts of their home; Meet the Putmans, about a family of 25 all living under the same roof; and Ink Ink Shop, set at a tattoo shop in Springfield, Mo., that employs only female artists.
— As THR first reported, Science Channel is reviving MythBusters with a new host search via reality competition Searching for the Next MythBusters, along with Punkin Chunkin, and has greenlighted new series How to Build … Everything and renewed Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman.
— In addition to the documentary feature franchise Animal Planet Presents, which THR first reported, Animal Planet announced new series The Zoo, set at the Bronx Zoo; and Project Grizzly, which follows bear trainer Jeff Watson as he attempts to return two rescued bears to the wild.
— Destination America announced Ghosts of Shepherdstown, set in a West Virginia town that has been called the most haunted in America.