New Los Angeles-based Flashbang Productions will be producing ATF, a scripted one-hour series about the investigations and exploits of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in partnership with that government agency. So, yes, even the feds are now getting into scripted TV. Nothing’s been sold to series yet, but Flashbang is now in discussions with respective cable networks for a possible Fall 2011 debut. Negotiations for this show have been ongoing for almost two years between Flashbang and the ATF brass in Washington DC. The series will have one continuing storyline and fictionally follow an ATF undercover task force in pursuit of criminals mostly based in St Louis, Missouri. As part of the producer’s agreement with the ATF, Flashbang is free to pursue merchandising and publishing opportunities.
Flashbang is a new partnership of writer/producer Shannon Murphy, director Michael Lange, and producer Nellie Nugiel. Murphy comes from a family long involved in U.S. intelligence communities. Her uncle James Murphy was the Assistant Director of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover; her father Thomas J. Murphy is a retired Navy Lt. Commander and mine specialist; another uncle was a high ranking Military counterintelligence agent, and many other relatives remain in the service of these and other institutions. She was also recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington D.C. that will be groundbreaking on October 14, 2010.
The ATF is the smallest U.S. law enforcement agency and employs agents in 25 field divisions. Its purpose is to investigate unlawful use, manufacturing, and possession of firearms and explosives, as well as arsons, bombings, and the illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco. CBS tried producing an ATF drama pilot this past season with no fed involvement, directed by Michael Dinner and starring Dylan Walsh, but it did not get picked up. That one centered on an agent who hunted down criminals while balancing life as a dad.
Flashbang is also teaming with MPH Entertainment (“Dog Whisperer”) to develop and produce “K9 Task Force: Dogs of the ATF,” a reality series about the ATF’s highly trained canine force and the role it plays in the detection of explosives and weapons at home and in war zones.