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Jay Z and The Weinstein Co.’s Trayvon Martin docuseries has found a home.
Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story has landed at Paramount Network, which is rebranding from Spike TV in January 2018. The six-part series about the African-American teen shot by George Zimmerman in 2012 is the first new non-scripted project since the Viacom-owned network announced its plans to rebrand.
The series also marks the second collaboration among Jay Z, The Weinstein Co. and Spike TV/Paramount Network. The trio partnered on the recently wrapped TIME: The Kalief Broder Story, a six-part event series about a young student who spent three years on Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime.
The news of Rest in Power comes a month after Jay Z and The Weinstein Co. announced that they had acquired the rights to two books — Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It and Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin — and planned to develop them in a docuseries and a narrative feature film. (The rapper has a first-look deal with The Weinstein Co.)
Rest in Power will center on the life and legacy of the unarmed 17-year-old high school student shot and killed by neighborhood watchman Zimmerman, who was later acquitted on a second-degree murder charge after claiming he shot Martin in self-defense, sparking worldwide protests and outrage.
“This is an important American story. We’re honored that Trayvon’s family has entrusted us to share the truth with the world,” says Jay Z. “Thank you, again, to Paramount Network/Spike TV for being brave enough to partner with us and tell these complex narratives. It’s through these conversations that we can begin to heal.”
“We continue to tell our story in order to unite people. We are very hopeful that this project will bring about a healthy and helpful conversation on the injustices that have divided society,” adds Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. “We know know as parents that the third act of our son’s legacy is hope.”
Rest in Power builds on Spike TV’s current roster of shows, which includes upcoming scripted entry The Mist and unscripted breakouts Bar Rescue, Ink Master and Lip Sync Battle. David Glasser, Chachi Senior, Jenner Furst, Nick Sandow, Julia Willoughby Nason and Michael Gasparro will serve as executive producers on the docuseries.
The network rebrand is said to be part of Viacom CEO Bob Bakish’s plan for greater company synergy. In a February memo to his staff, network president Kevin Kay noted that the rebranding would mean more of a push for high-quality scripted shows — including comedies — in addition to unscripted programming and tentpole movies from Paramount Pictures and other studios.
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