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NatGeo is diving further into scripted series programming.
The cable network has greenlighted a new drama/docuseries from executive producers Arianna Huffington and House of Lies creator Matthew Carnahan, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Titled Valley of the Boom, the six-part limited series will explore the rapid rise and the spectacular fall of the 1990s tech bubble. The scripted drama will be supported by select documentary elements, taking a page from the network’s hybrid space series Mars, to tell the inside story of Silicon Valley’s dramatic early days.
Carnahan serves as creator, showrunner and director of the project. He will also executive produce alongside Huffington, Jason Goldberg (The Platinum Life, Punk’d), Brant Pinvidic (Bar Rescue), David Walpert (House of Lies, New Girl) and co-executive producer David Newsom, who will lead the nonscripted unit of the production. Joel Ehninger of Matthew Carnahan Circus Products is on board to produce.
STX Entertainment’s TV studio, STXtv, will produce and handle distribution in China. The series will premiere globally on National Geographic in 171 countries and 45 languages.
Valley of the Boom marks NatGeo’s fourth scripted series, following Mars, the 10-time Emmy nominated anthology Genius and the recent military limited series The Long Road Home.
“The provocative world of Silicon Valley has long dominated headlines and captured the public’s imagination,” National Geographic’s head of global scripted programming and development Carolyn Bernstein said Wednesday in a statement. “We cannot wait to tell this timely, wildly unpredictable and captivating story of the early days of the dotcom boom and bust with showrunner Matthew Carnahan and his signature irreverent blend of drama, comedy and pathos.”
Added STXtv’s head of scripted television Jada Miranda: “Valley of the Boom is the perfect example of the creatively ambitious, globally minded content that STXtv is producing for audiences across platforms. Matthew has been a dream collaborator and the perfect creator for this project — blending his past in documentary filmmaking with expert TV series showrunning. We’re thrilled to bring his innovative vision to National Geographic and give audiences a peek behind the curtain of one of the most fascinating periods in recent history.”
This marks one of the first forays into scripted television for Huffington, who founded The Huffington Post and has written 15 best-selling books. She previously executive produced the 2010 Washington D.C.-based TV pilot Freshmen.
“Silicon Valley and the technology that came out of it dominate our world in so many ways, both physically and culturally,” said Huffington. “But we can’t understand the present without understanding how we got here. So I’m thrilled to be partnering with a master storyteller like Matthew Carnahan, a global studio of STXtv’s caliber and a brand that has rightly earned such deep trust and loyalty as National Geographic.”
For Carnahan, Valley of the Boom comes a little more than a year after House of Lies wrapped its five-season run on Showtime in June 2016. “We wanted to make something as disruptive and exciting as the people and the tech that came out of The Valley during this period, so this is a wild, hybridized, rule-breaking look at a truly remarkable time and place,” he said. “STXtv and NatGeo have allowed us tremendous creative freedom, and I’m excited about making something truly new and different.”
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