WGN America continues to stock up on “cost effective” scripted originals. On the heels of its recent pickup of the Anna Paquin-starring Canadian detective drama series Bellevue, WGN America has acquired three more international drama series in the crime/thriller genre. They include the 2015 Swedish-American thriller 100 Code, from Oscar winner Bobby Moresco (Crash) and starring Dominic Monaghan (Lost) and the late Michael Nyqvist (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo); 2016 Canadian police series Shoot the Messenger starring Elyse Levesque (Orphan Black), Lyriq Bent (She’s Gotta Have It), Lucas Bryant (Haven), and Alex Kingston (Doctor Who) and the 2017 Candadian drama Pure, starring Ryan Robbins (Warcraft), Alex Paxton-Beesley (The Strain), A.J. Buckley (CSI: NY) and Rosie Perez (Search Party). All three ran for one season on their original networks.
The low-cost acquisitions are part of WGNA’s programming shift “away from high-cost originals into more cost-effective originals and reruns,” as announced in May by Chris Ripley, CEO of Sinclair Broadcasting, which is in the process of acquiring WGNA’s parent Tribune.
The international acquisitions join WGNA’s off-network crime series Blue Bloods, Elementary, Person of Interest, Bones, Law & Order and Cops, and will roll out beginning first quarter 2018 as part of WGN America’s ‘prime crime’ lineup.
“WGN America continues to deliver one of the best crime lineups in television,” said Gavin Harvey, President, WGN America. “These four new original series build upon our strong slate of compelling programming that offers nonstop mystery, thrills and suspense for the growing number of fans of the crime genre.”
WGNA’s new programming strategy, following the cancellations of its high-end original dramas Underground and Outsiders, resembles that of ION, which also mixes international acquisitions and off-network dramas, mostly in the crime genre.
Complete descriptions of the new series pickups follow below, including trailers:
100 Code (12 episodes – 2018)
New York. Stockholm. Young, blonde and blue-eyed women have been turning up dead in fields of flowers. Through a special dispensation from the NYPD, Detective Tommy Conley (Dominic Monaghan) is permitted to observe and advise the Stockholm PD. Upon arrival in Sweden, he is paired with Mikael Eklund (Michael Nyqvist) a by-the-book Swedish cop with an aversion to American culture. Both hate each other, but the two are quickly forced to resolve their differences as the mysterious killings continue. As the web of shocking murders continues, Conley and Eklund are led down a path of no return in their hunt for the vicious killer.
Developed by Academy Award winner Bobby Moresco (Crash, Million Dollar Baby), “100 Code” stars Dominic Monaghan (“Lost,” Lord of the Rings Trilogy) as New York Detective Tommy Conley and the late Michael Nyqvist (John Wick, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as the by-the-book Swedish detective Mikael Eklund.
“100 Code” is produced by 100 Code AB & Zen Productions in association with Fabrik Entertainment, Red Arrow International and Strix Drama for Kanal 5 and Sky Deutschland. “100 Code” is distributed worldwide by Red Arrow International and has sold to more than 100 territories including the UK (Sky Atlantic), Italy (Mediaset) and Scandinavia (HBO Nordics).
Shoot the Messenger (8 Episodes – 2018)
A gritty political-crime thriller centering on the complex relationships between crime reporters and the police, “Shoot the Messenger” follows Daisy Channing (Elyse Levesque), a young reporter trying to balance a messy personal life with a burgeoning career. Things begin to go sideways for Daisy when she witnesses a murder she thinks is gang related, only to find herself slowly drawn into an interconnected web of criminal and illicit sexual activity that reaches into the corridors of corporate and political power. It’s the kind of story that will destroy lives, including those of her own family. With help from her editor Mary Foster (Alex Kingston), co-worker Simon Olenski (Lucas Bryant), and lead homicide detective Kevin Lutz (Lyriq Bent), Daisy uncovers a cover-up so scandalous it could bring down the government.
“Shoot the Messenger” stars Elyse Levesque (“Orphan Black”) as Daisy Channing, Lyriq Bent (“The Book of Negroes”) as Kevin Lutz, Lucas Bryant (“Haven”) as Simon Olenski and Alex Kingston (“Doctor Who,” “ER”) as Mary Foster.
“Shoot the Messenger” is produced by Jennifer Holness and Victoria Woods for Hungry Eyes Film & Television Inc. in association with CBC Television and ITV Studios Global Entertainment. The eight-episode series is co-created by Jennifer Holness and Sudz Sutherland who also serves as lead director on the series.
Pure (Season One – 6 Episodes – TBD)
“Pure” takes us deep inside a closed, secretive subculture through the eyes of a conflicted, good-hearted man trying to protect his family and preserve his faith. Inspired by true events, “Pure” is the journey of Noah Funk-newly elected Mennonite pastor-who is determined to rid his community of the scourge of drugs and its nefarious ties to a transborder smuggling alliance with ruthless Mexican cocaine cartels. But just when he thinks he’s won, he’s thrust headlong into a desperate world of violence, greed, and betrayal.
The ensemble cast for “Pure” includes: Ryan Robbins (“Arrow,” “The Killing”) as Noah Funk; Alex Paxton-Beesley (“The Strain”) as Anna Funk, A.J. Buckley (“CSI: NY”, “Justified”) as Detective Bronco Novak; and Oscar and Golden Globe Nominee Rosie Perez (“Search Party,” White Men Can’t Jump) as DEA Agent Phoebe O’Reilly.
Produced by Two East Productions and Cineflix, “Pure” was created and written by Michael Amo (“The Listener”) and directed by Ken Girotti (“Orphan Black,” “Vikings”). Amo and Girotti serve as executive producers along with Brett Burlock, Peter Emerson and David MacLeod (“Call Me Fitz,” “Haven”). Cineflix Rights has the exclusive worldwide distribution rights to “Pure.”
WGN America will be the exclusive U.S. TV home for the first season of “Pure.” The premiere date will be announced soon. “Pure” previously premiered on Canada’s CBC and the first season is now streaming exclusively on Hulu.