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National Geographic’s premium push continues with The Long Road Home.
The network has inked a deal with Mike Medavoy and Jason Clark to develop a scripted miniseries based on the New York Times best-seller from ABC’s Martha Raddatz. The story centers on April 4, 2004, a day that’s become known in military circles as “Black Sunday.” On that day, a platoon from the First Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Texas, was ambushed in Sadr City in Baghdad.
The mini is expected to take viewers through this extraordinary and harrowing day in the exact length of the battle, from first enemy contact just after 4 p.m. to its resolution just after midnight: eight hours, seven minutes and 34 seconds. Mikko Alanne (The 33) has been tapped to adapt it, with Benjamin Anderson and Edward McGurn both involved as executive producers.
“We are working with masterful story crafters — Mike Medavoy, who has produced some of the most iconic military features ever made, Jason Clark, and Mikko Alanne — to tell a remarkable story about courage,” said Nat Geo Channel CEO Courteney Monroe in a statement announcing the news Monday. “It is a universal and timeless story about warriors and families, of brotherhood, hope, loyalty, and survival. It is rooted in authenticity that is core to National Geographic brand and we hope to tell a gripping, true story of survival.”
The announcement comes as Nat Geo, under Monroe’s leadership, continues to add decidedly more premium programming to its roster. Since she took over as CEO, the D.C.-based network has added fare from Alex Gibney, Mark Gordon, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, among others. Though it remains primarily unscripted in focus, Nat Geo has fared well with scripted material, which has included several “Killing” films from Bill O’Reilly (Killing Reagan and Killing Patton are forthcoming) and last week’s 4-hour movie event Saints and Strangers.
“I’m thrilled to be in business with National Geographic, who brings quality programming to worldwide audiences. We aspire to take viewers both into the terrifying, chaotic realm of soldiers at war, as we did in Platoon, but also we will take you into the lives of their families back in Texas as they learn of the battle,” said Medavoy. “We continue our relationship with critically acclaimed Mikko Alanne and know that along with National Geographic Channel and Ways and Means Productions, we’ll tell a story that resonates in today’s headlines.”
Added Clark: “The Long Road Home is a story about ordinary people trapped by circumstances outside their control. The battle they fight is not for politics or ideas, but for each other, for their families, simply to live and to return. But not all will. Not even those who do come home alive. Because this is also a story about our veterans, and what happens to them after the battle is over.”
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