Spectrum, AMC Team for Sci-Fi Series From Zak Penn

Zak Penn
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Spectrum Originals and AMC Networks are teaming up for a sci-fi series from Ready Player One and Free Guy screenwriter Zak Penn.

The two cable outlets have ordered Beacon 23, a psychological thriller set in deep space based on a novel of the same title by Hugh Howey. Spectrum and Platform One Media will produce the series, with Spectrum Originals getting an exclusive, nine-month first run. Following that, the show will become an AMC original with a second run across AMC Networks platforms.

"Beacon 23 is a series in a class all its own — it's a thriller, it's a love story, it's a character drama, it's a sci-fi exploration of our own interconnectivity and disconnection, and it's been beautifully adapted by the brilliant Zak Penn," said Katherine Pope, head of Spectrum Originals. "We have the perfect partners in Platform One Media and AMC to help Zak bring this series to life."

Howey's book explores the relationship between two characters who are trapped in a lighthouse at the edge of the known universe.

"The notion of a lighthouse in outer space grabbed me the second I looked at the cover of Hugh Howey’s Beacon 23," said Penn. "Once I read all the other pages, I knew I had a story I could translate to another medium. For the past two years, with Hugh's help and the generous indulgence of our wonderful partners at Spectrum Originals, Platform One Media and AMC, I've been able to assemble an incredible group of scientists, astronauts, and many of my ideal collaborators to help create an entire universe for this show.  It’s a very exciting project for me, and I'm glad to be working again with Ira Behr, one of the best minds in television, and definitely the best beard."

The partnership with AMC follows a pattern for Spectrum Originals. The two-year-old platform has also teamed with ViacomCBS' Paramount Network on two projects, drama series Paradise Lost and limited series George and Tammy, starring Jessica Chastain.

Penn will serve as showrunner on Beacon 23 and executive produce alongside Ira Steven Behr (Outlander, Penn's Syfy series Alphas) and Platform One's Katie O’Connell Marsh and Elisa Ellis.