It used to be that every network was looking to expand into reality programming. Now, the push seems to be towards scripted series. Epix, a network known mostly for its movie catalogue, has not made much of a splash with its unscripted fare. However, a new partnership with Lionsgate and Paramount Television (and later this year, MGM), may bring some notable, more prestigious programming to the channel (much like Fortitude did for Pivot).
The two new series, Graves and Berlin Station (which will be joined by a third original series that has not yet been announced), are both set to debut in the fall of 2016. According to a press release, the Lionsgate project Graves is a single camera half-hour comedy starring Nick Nolte as a former President of the United States. It will follow Nolte’s character’s “Don Quixote-like journey” to right the wrongs of his administration throughout a 10-episode first season (which has already been ordered to series). Series creator Michael Stern (Swing Vote) will also write, direct, and will share the role of executive producer with Greg Shapiro (The Hurt Locker).
Paramount Television’s Berlin Station, also a 10-episode series, is an hourlong espionage drama that follows a new CIA case officer on a secret mission to uncover the source of a leak. As the conspiracy begins the build, he finds himself in a world full of danger and moral compromises. Michel Roskam (Bullhead) will executive produce the show (which also has a straight-to-series order), along with American spy novelist Olen Steinhauer (who will also write the series) and Eric Roth (The Hunger Games).
New York, NY, May 21, 2015 – Premium TV network EPIX announced today that it is adding original, scripted series to its programming slate, beginning with series from its joint-venture studio partners Paramount, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Two of the series will begin production this fall for premiere autumn 2016. The series, “Graves” from Lionsgate Television and“Berlin Station” from Paramount Television, mark the first original series that will appear on EPIX across its channels, EPIX On Demand, EPIX.com and TV Everywhere platforms with its distribution partners. A third original series from MGM will be announced in the near future.
Commenting on the original series, Mark Greenberg, President and CEO of EPIX said, “Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM are great partners, investors and supporters of our network and are proven leaders in television entertainment. Tapping into the creative talents of these entertainment power-houses to deliver this kind of compelling programming is exactly what we had envisioned when we created this joint-venture and launched the channel. Our focus was on business success and profitability first and having established that firm business foundation, we are now in a position to launch our original series with these two great shows from Lionsgate and Paramount and a third on the way from MGM.”
Added Jocelyn Diaz, Executive Vice President for Original Programming, “Original series provide a platform to build our brand and distinguish our offering. We are proud of the level of quality and sophistication of these projects and are thrilled to announce them today with our partners.”
“Berlin Station” is an hour-long, 10-part espionage drama series that will be produced in partnership with Paramount Television. Academy Award nominee Michaël Roskam (“Bullhead,” “The Drop”) will executive produce the straight-to-series order and is set to direct the first two episodes. American spy novelist Olen Steinhauer (The Cairo Affair, All The Old Knives) will write and executive produce the series. Academy Award winner Eric Roth (“Hunger Games,” “The Insider,” “Munich”) and Anonymous Content (“True Detective,” “The Knick”) will also serve as executive producers.
“Olen is among the most respected espionage voices of our time, and Michael has a seasoned and distinct command of noir. Together, they make the ideal creative team to collaborate with on this sophisticated and gritty modern day spy thriller,” said Amy Powell, President, Paramount Television. “We also take great pride in partnering with the distinguished and prolific storyteller Eric Roth and the talented team at EPIX on developing an inspired original series that is reflective of the network’s commitment to high quality entertainment.”
“Berlin Station” follows Daniel Meyer, a newly anointed case officer who has arrived at the CIA foreign station in Berlin, Germany. It with a clandestine mission: to uncover the source of a leak who has supplied information to a now-famous whistleblower named “Thomas Shaw.” Guided by jaded veteran Hector DeJean, Daniel learns to contend with the rough-and-tumble world of the field agent-agent-running, deception, the dangers and moral compromises. As he dives deeper into the German capital’s hall of mirrors and uncovers the threads of a conspiracy that leads back to Washington, Daniel wonders: Can anyone ever be the same after a posting to Berlin?
Michaël Roskum is represented by Anonymous Content’s Keith Redmon and Luke Rivett, and UTA and attorney Alan Wertheimer. Olen Steinhauer is represented by Jill Gillett and Sylvie Rabineau at RWSG. Steve Golin, Kerry Kohansky-Roberts, Keith Redmon and Luke Rivett from Anonymous Content will also be executive producers of the series.
“Graves” is a single camera, half-hour comedy starring Oscar-nominated Nick Nolte as a former President of the United States. Twenty years after his presidency, former President Richard Graves has the epiphany that his policies have damaged the country for decades and so, with his young assistant, he goes on a Don Quixote-like journey to right his administration’s wrongs just as his wife, the former First Lady, decides to follow her own political ambitions.
The 10-episode, straight-to-series order will be produced in partnership with Lionsgate TV. Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote) created the project and will write, direct and executive produce the series. Oscar-winning producer Greg Shapiro (The Hurt Locker) will also be an executive producer.
“‘Graves’ is a perfect vehicle to usher EPIX into premium scripted programming, and we look forward to delivering high end quality content for years to come,” said Kevin Beggs, Chairman, Lionsgate Television Group. “‘Graves’ is a provocative comedy featuring a terrific script from writer/director Joshua Michael Stern, a consummate producer in Greg Shapiro and the brilliant and charismatic Nick Nolte as a former U.S. President whose conscience catches up with him with tragic and comic results. It is perfectly timed to premiere in an election year and marks a new chapter in the successful evolution of EPIX as a leading premium cable platform.”
Nick Nolte is represented by CAA and Jackoway Tyerman. Joshua Michael Stern is represented by Paradigm and AJ Brandenstein at Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern, LLP. Greg Shapiro is represented by Darren Trattner at Jackoway Tyerman.
EPIX and MGM are finalizing an agreement on an original series that will add to the network’s programming line-up. Specific details will be announced in the near future.
“We are working with EPIX to develop our next exciting series and look forward to bringing our signature style and storytelling to EPIX soon,” said Roma Khanna, President of MGM Television Group and Digital. “From Vikings to Fargo, MGM Television is the force behind some of the most exciting and award-winning series currently on television.”
In addition to the new scripted series, EPIX will continue to present original documentaries and docu-series (Deep Web, NHL Road to the Winter Classic and Stadium Series), comedy specials (Russell Brand, Jim Norton, Jim Breuer, Lisa Lampanelli) and music events (Katy Perry: Prismatic Tour), along with new movies (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Selma, Interstellar) and thousands of titles from partner studios and other sources.