EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic Channel has teamed with Tony and Ridley Scott to produce a two-hour documentary based on Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever, Bill O’Reilly’s best-selling book with co-author Martin Dugard. The documentary, set to begin production in the spring for an early 2013 premiere globally on the National Geographic Channel, will keep the fast pace of the book, described as a historical thriller with a John Grisham-style narrative about the 1865 murder of President Abraham Lincoln and the furious manhunt for his killer. It will include feature-film quality re-enactments completed with CGI in the signature style of the Scott brothers. “National Geographic has a great legacy of telling some of history’s most riveting stories,” said O’Reilly, who will also serve as an executive producer on the documentary. “The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln is no exception, as it continues to be one of the most significant, life-changing events in America’s young history.”

For Brits Ridley and Tony Scott, this marks the second documentary about a pivotal episode in American history on the heels of their 2011 History docu Gettysburg. It earned six Emmy nominations, including best nonfiction special. “National Geographic Channel is the perfect partner for us to bring Bill O’Reilly’s dynamic Killing Lincoln to the screen,” Ridley Scott said.

This marks one of the first major projects for Howard T. Owens, who was named president of National Geographic Channels USA late last year. “Using contemporary storytelling methods that are the hallmark of what the Scott brothers are known for will transform this popular best-seller into a global television event for our network,” he said.