Dermot Mulroney will be doing the voice-overs for Fox News Channel’s first crack at what it’s calling a “run of historical episodic specials,” Legends & Lies: The Real West. The 10 hour-long episodes will recount stories of well-known characters of this country’s Western expansion in the 19th century including Jesse James, David Crockett, Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid. FNC promises the project will, in each case, “separate the legend from the lie.”
Bill O’Reilly is exec producing the project, which is being produced by Warm Spring Productions, the makers of History’s Mountain Men, Animal Planet’s American River Renegades and HGTV’s Log Cabin Living. He also appears onscreen in each episode, providing analysis and commentary with historians and other experts and descendants of the subjects – much like the format of History’s series The Men Who Built America.
Fox News VP Development John Finley said the network considered several periods of American history before settling on this one for the debut of what it hopes is an ongoing franchise, because the subject is “very action packed” and cinematic.
“We shot this all over the country and it really felt like a big Hollywood production,” he said, while joking about adjusting to the difference in lead time between this series and FNC’s typical pace.
The network already is discussing Season 2, in which the show would jump to a different era — possible World War II. The network also is looking at other proposals for historical docu series. “We really think our audience is right,” Finley said.
Legends & Lies, debuting April 12 at 8 PM ET (companion book out April 7) is the latest entry in a cable news trend to add original filmed series to lineups, filling in slower time periods to keep viewers watching. O’Reilly is FNC’s most popular star, and his best-selling Killing book franchise has been adapted into movies that are three of National Geographic Channel’s most watched telecasts ever, topped with last Sunday’s Killing Jesus and including Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln.