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Paramount Network is upping its scripted roster.
The Viacom-owned cable network — now under the oversight of Comedy Central president Kent Alterman — has gone straight to series on a drama called Heaven of Hell from writer Rodes Fishburne (Blood & Oil) and is teaming with The Shield star Michael Chiklis and Breaking Bad favorite Michelle MacLaren for Dark Horse hourlong Coyote, which is in development.
Heaven of Hell is a drama about nontraditional detectives. Fishburne will pen the script for the straight-to-series order and exec produce alongside Anonymous Content and Paramount Television. In a deal that echoes Friday Night Lights, Charter Communications’ Spectrum cable platform will have the first window for the series, with Paramount Network airing it afterward. An episode count has not yet been determined for the drama, which has not yet been cast.
“Rodes wrote a pilot and second episode script that are so rich and compelling,” Alterman told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview about his vision for the rebooted Paramount Network. “It’s another example where it goes into a specific world — a small town in Mississippi — and it explores all these relationships of family and characters in the community in a rich, complex and surprising way that’s relatable. It’s got a broad sensibility but not that broadcast sensibility. It can go into some complex and dark places in a way that’s satisfying. He’s a master storyteller and a fantastic writer. We’re excited about the partnership with Charter and we’re also doing it in partnership with Paramount TV.”
Additionally, Paramount Network is teaming with Sony Pictures Television to develop Coyote, a scripted drama series starring Chiklis and exec produced by MacLaren. The drama follows agent Ben Clemens (Chiklis) who, on the day of his mandatory retirement from the United States Border Patrol, discovers an illicit tunnel used to mainline black market goods into the United States from Mexico. This soon puts Clemens in the crosshairs of the criminal mastermind he’s spent his career trying to destroy.
“It’s a world that’s very relatable and of the moment right now,” Alterman told THR. “It’s almost like Breaking Good in a way: he becomes more enlightened and a richer and more evolved character.”
The potential series hails from MacLaren Entertainment, Darkhorse and Sony Pictures Television. Chiklis will also exec produce.
Heaven of Hell is the fourth drama in the works for Paramount Network. The broad-focused cable network’s lone scripted series in 2019 will be season two of Kevin Costner vehicle Yellowstone. Darren Star’s Emily in Paris will join the slate in 2020, potentially along with newly ordered 68 Whiskey. A premiere date for Heaven of Hell has not yet been determined.
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