EXCLUSIVE: Exactly a year after signaling its intention to return to scripted programming with event series, Spike TV has greenlighted Tut, a six-hour series about Tutankhamun, aka King Tut (who reigned c. 1333 to 1323 BC), the youngest Pharaoh to rule Ancient Egypt, whose famous golden sarcophagus has become one of the symbols of the ancient civilization. This marks the first event/limited series for Spike since 2007’s The Kill Point, just as the genre is mounting a big comeback on television. “It couldn’t be a better time for Spike to re-enter the scripted arena,” said EVP Original Series Sharon Levy, noting the network’s success on the unscripted side with such series as Bar Rescue and Ink Master. “We’re on the hunt for a drama series next,” she said, adding that she envisions “the future of Spike as a blend of event and drama series” on the scripted side.
Tut, which will premiere in 2015 supported by a full-bore marketing campaign, also marks the first time King Tut’s story has been told on television. The event series, from Canadian production company Muse Entertainment (The Kennedys), chronicles Tut’s rise to power and his struggle to lead Egypt to glory, while his closest advisers, friends and lovers scheme for their own nefarious interests. “It’s a big, epic story with complex characters, remarkable heroes and strong women,” Levy said. Tut will be shot on location in Morocco and Canada this fall.
The project has been on the fast track since Spike took it in for development last September with Michael Vickerman (Impact) as writer/executive producer, The Fosters creators/executive producers Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige as writers and Muse’s Michael Prupas and Joel S. Rice as well as Greg Gugliotta (The Fosters) as executive producers. The network has since added former AMC executive-turned-producer Jeremy Elice and veteran producer Angela Mancuso (Spartacus) as executive producers, with Levy also exec producing.
A young Tut is thrust into power after the murder of his father. The neophyte ruler is forced to marry his sister in order to maintain the dynasty. Although Tut rules as Pharaoh, he is controlled like a puppet by three formidable men who plot against him and vie for the throne themselves. Against all odds, Tut grows from an insecure and manipulated prince to a hero on the battlefield, leading his kingdom into war and victory. Just as he takes control of his nation and his destiny, he is betrayed.