9:00am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Greg Yaitanes Tapped as Showrunner of Discovery's Unabomber Drama 'Manifesto' (Exclusive)
Emmy winner Greg Yaitanes has been tapped to executive produce, direct and serve as showrunner on Discovery Channel's scripted drama series Manifesto, which will focus on the FBI's efforts to bring down "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski.
In addition, Lionsgate has come aboard Manifesto, teaming with Discovery and Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti’s Trigger Street Productions on the limited series. John Goldwyn, Yaitanes, Spacey and Brunetti are executive producing. Troy Searer is also executive producing.
The series, which was greenlighted in March, will be told from the point of view of the FBI profiler in charge of the manhunt. It will focus on the efforts of FBI agent Jim "Fitz" Fitzgerald, one of the most decorated profilers in the history of the bureau, and how his radical new approach to intelligence gathering ultimately brought down the Unabomber.
"Manifesto is one of the great untold stories of our generation," said Yaitanes, whose credits include House, Lost, Damages and Heroes. "I'm very excited to partner with the Discovery Channel and Lionsgate in bringing Andrew Sodroski's compelling script to life."
Sodroski topped Hollywood's famed Black List for screenplays in 2013.
"This story captivated the nation, yet most don't realize how innovation and radical new ways of intelligence gathering helped unlock the true identity of the Unabomber. And this is what makes it perfect for Discovery," said Rich Ross, group president of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel. "We've partnered with the best storytellers in the business and am thrilled to have Greg's creative vision behind it."
Added Lionsgate Television Group executive vp Chris Selak: "Discovery is the perfect home for this incredible story, and Greg is the ideal storyteller to bring it to life. Manifesto is a fresh and spell-binding take on the Unabomber story that enthralled the nation, and the drama that unfolded behind the headlines. We are excited to bring this psychological thriller to television."
A premiere date has not yet been announced.
CAA-repped Yaitanes has been a director-producer for nearly 20 years. His work on House won him an Emmy as best director in the drama category. He most recently directed and executive produced the Cinemax series Banshee and also serves as showrunner for the drama series Quarry, debuting on Cinemax later this year.
Manifesto 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, Discovery’s first-ever true crime series Killing Fields 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 in March and will premiere later this year. The network first entered the scripted space with 2014's Klondike.