CBC Picks Up 1860s Western 'Strange Empire' to Series

The Canadian network returns to edgy fare with a 13-part drama executive produced by Jeff Sagansky about a caravan of women forced to replace prostitutes in a frontier town.

TORONTO -- The CBC has given a series pickup to a dark 1860s Western, Strange Empire, from Durham County screenwriter Laurie Finstad.

The serialized drama portrays a ruthless individual who butchers most of the men in a Canadian frontier town and then pushes frightened women into replacing prostitutes he lost in a recent cholera epidemic.

Finstad, Timothy Johnson and Jeff Sagansky are executive producing Strange Empire from indie producer Johnson Production Group, in association with Annuit Coeptis Entertainment.

There's no word on casting for the series, which was in development at the CBC as Janestown and will debut with a 13-episode season.

The edgy drama is also a departure for the CBC, which in recent years has aired feel-good dramas like returning series Murdoch Mysteries, set in 1890s Toronto, and Heartland, another Western about a family on a horse ranch.