On the heels of Spike TV’s successful launch of its first scripted event series in eight years, Tut, the cable network has greenlighted its first scripted series drama in nine years, Harvest, from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Warner Horizon Television. The project has received a 10-episode straight-to-series order for a 2016 premiere.
Harvest is part of Spike’s expansion into scripted programming, The network, home of reality standouts Lip Synch Battle and Bar Rescue, first signaled a return to scripted originals in 2013 when EVP Original Series Sharon Levy laid out Spike’s plan to develop and launch an event series that would lead to original drama series. The network greenlighted Tut last year, followed by today’s pickup of Harvest. Spike continues to actively develop hourlong scripts and plans to order a second drama series for a premiere in early 2017. The two dramas will likely be bridged by a new event series.
Harvest, which marks Spike’s first collaboration with a major studio, was written by Ian Sobel & Matt Morgan (12 Monkeys, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series). It centers on a dedicated father, working two jobs to support his teenage daughter and give her the life he never had. By day, he’s a cemetery caretaker, by night he attends nursing school. However, when his own estranged father tracks him down and threatens to expose a terrible secret — he is compelled to partner with him in a black-market tissue and body parts trade.
Levy told Deadline the decision to go with Harvest as the first scripted series in almost a decade was based on the caliber of auspices, Bruckheimer and Warner Horizon, and the material.
“Ian and Matt had written a great script which we were passionate about,” she said. “One big mission we have is to bring women to the network, and this is a father-and-son and father-and-daughter story that appeals to women and men. It gives glimpse into a world that is not explored on television, and it we felt strongly about it as a way to tell a family drama.”
Harvest was originally was set up at A&E in 2013. The project moved to Spike in April and, after a quick turnaround, it is getting a series greenlight four months later. Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman executive produce, with Sobel & Morgan and KristieAnne Reed serving as co-executive producers for Jerry Bruckheimer TV and Warner Horizon.
“It is very exciting to have the opportunity to be the first scripted series on Spike,” said Bruckheimer. “This network is the perfect place to push the envelope with edgy characters and unique material.”
Spike TV’s Tut averaged 2.5 million viewers over three nights and was the highest-rated program in the time slot in eight years. Even more significantly for the network’s scripted expansion plans, the event series brought in 81% new viewers.
Spike’s drama development slate includes When The Levee Breaks, from screenwriter Kurt Wimmer; The Crusaders, from Pierce Brosnan’s Irish DreamTime, Sennet Entertainment, Michael Finch and writer David Franzoni; Deep Web, with producer-director-writer Tony Krantz of Flame Ventures; The Chairman, based on the Stephen Frey bestseller; Red Mars from Vince Gerardis (Game Of Thrones), based on Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy; Emergency Broadcast from Legendary Pictures and Thomas Tull; and War At The Shore, based on Richard D. “Skip” Bronson’s book.