EXCLUSIVE: HBO/Cinemax and The X Files alum Frank Spotnitz are developing Sam Hunter, a drama starring Melissa George to air on Cinemax. A spinoff of Cinemax’s Hunted, the action series sees George reprising her role as Sam, a gutsy agent in the murky world of private espionage. Now on the run from her former employer, Sam has a price on her head and a young daughter to protect. She must work as a freelance spy to find out who wants her dead — and how it connects to the murder of her own mother. Cinemax is planning to launch Sam Hunter as a four-hour miniseries, which Spotnitz is currently writing. Cinemax has been looking to keep Hunted alive in some form since partner BBC One last November opted not to renew the series for a second season.

Hunted, Cimemax’s second original series after Strike Back (which Spotnitz co-executive produced), earned some of the best reviews for a Cinemax show and did solid business in the ratings for the pay cable channel. Because of the project’s setup –- BBC originally commissioned eight episodes from Shine-owned British production company Kudos Film and Television before Cinemax came on board as producer/U.S. distributor — continuing the series in its original incarnation was impossible without BBC’s involvement. So Cinemax brass started looking for others ways to extend the franchise, focusing on the key elements that they loved about Hunted — Spotnitz, the character of Sam Hunter and George. Doing the new series by itself would give Cinemax greater creative control and allow WME-repped Spotnitz to push the boundaries on storytelling, tailoring the show to a pay cable network vs. a public broadcaster, what BBC is.

Kudos is on board to produce Sam Hunter in association with Spotnitz’ Big Light Prods. Executive producers are Jane Featherstone, Stephen Garrett, Alison Jackson and Spotnitz, who also exec produced Hunted. George, repped by ICM Partners and 3 Arts, recently starred in the ABC pilot Gothica.