2:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Michael B. Jordan, Peter Moffat Team for Racial Drama at AMC
AMC is looking to Michael B. Jordan and Peter Moffat for its next drama.
The network has opened a writers room for 61st Street, a drama being developed under the cabler's script-to-series model. (That means if the scripts come in well, AMC would bypass the pilot stage and pick it up straight to series.)
61st Street is set in the present day and follows Moses Johnson, a promising high school athlete who is swept into Chicago's corrupt criminal justice system. Taken by police as a gang member, he finds himself in the eye of the storm as police and prosecutors seek revenge for the death of an officer during a drug bust gone wrong. It's described as a timely examination of the institutional racism plaguing cities nationwide that plumbs the depths of systemic abuse happening in some of the country's most vulnerable communities.
Moffat (Criminal Justice, The Night Of) will serve as showrunner of the AMC Studios-produced project. Jordan (Black Panther, OWN's upcoming David Makes Man) will executive produce via his Outlier Society banner.
"Award-winning writer Peter Moffat’s 61st Street is a murder mystery, courtroom drama and an examination of race in America wrapped up into one," AMC programming president David Madden said in a statement. "Peter justly won acclaim for Criminal Justice, the British thriller which was remade by HBO as The Night Of, and in this case he's partnered with extraordinary producers, the Outlier Society team of Michael B. Jordan and Alana Mayo. This is an emotional and audacious piece of drama that is as timely as television gets, and we are excited to put it into a writers’ room and see where the team takes it."
BBC Studios' Hilary Salmon will also exec produce alongside Moffat, Jordan and Mayo.
AMC has had varying levels of success with its script-to-series model. Current dramas The Son and Lodge 49 — and canceled one-and-done series Dietland — as well as the upcoming NOS4A2 were all developed under the model, which is considered more cost-effective than a pilot but comes with more substantial risks.
Moffat continues to follow The Night Of's stateside success. He is also working on the Showtime limited series Your Honor alongside The Good Fight creators Robert and Michelle King. That series recently cast Bryan Cranston to star.
For Jordan, meanwhile, 61st Street falls outside of his newly announced Amazon Studios first-look deal and arrives as his production company continues to expand its roster of scripted originals, which includes the HBO telepic Fahrenheit 451, OWN's David Makes Man and Netflix's Raising Dion.
Should 61st Street move to series, it would join an AMC scripted roster that also includes the rapidly expanding Walking Dead franchise, Better Call Saul, The Terror, Into the Badlands, Human, Preacher, Little Drummer Girl and Dispatches From Elsewhere.
61st Street was announced Saturday during AMC's portion of the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. The cable network also announced that Sundance Now/Shudder's A Discovery of Witches would debut on AMC and BBC America in a move designed to give the series a better opportunity to expand its viewership. The Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer project will start its eight-week run on AMC and BBC America on April 7 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following Killing Eve. The BBC America drama that has been an awards magnet for Sandra Oh also hopes to build its viewership by airing on AMC.
Other announcements Saturday included premiere dates for 2019 AMC/BBC America/IFC/Sundance series listed below:
Into the Badlands (AMC, March 24 at 10 p.m.)
The Son (AMC, April 27 at 9 p.m.)
Top Gear (BBC America, April 25 at 9 p.m.)
Luther (BBC America, June 2, 8 p.m.)
Brockmire (IFC, April 3 at 10 p.m.)
Ministry of Evil (Sundance, Feb. 27 at 11 p.m.)
Unspeakable (Sundance, April 4 at 9 p.m.)
The Name of the Rose (Sundance, May 1 at 11 p.m.)