U.S. broadcaster Reelz is to air a documentary series about Charles Manson’s family – funded by British distributor DRG.
Manson’s Bloodline is a four-part series that will tell the story of Charles Manson’s grandson, Jason Freeman, and how he came to terms with his notorious grandfather’s murder spree. It comes in advance of next year’s 50th anniversary of the killings.
The series, which will be delivered in late summer, will be produced by Breaking Borders producer My Entertainment, which obtained access and secured previously unheard telephone calls that Manson had with Jason from prison. It will also follow Jason’s battle for his grandfather’s body following his death in November 2017 and exclusive footage of Manson’s funeral from earlier this year.
It will air on the Autopsy broadcaster in the U.S. and Viaplay across Scandinavia. DRG fully funded production and commissioned the show without a broadcaster commitment before securing broadcaster deals.
It comes as the Manson story is set to dominate screens over the next twelve months. Quentin Tarantino is working on a Manson feature that will star Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie, while Deadline revealed in June that Fox is exploring the gruesome murders in a Liev Schreiber-narrated documentary special based on a vault of unseen footage of the cult.
My Entertainment and DRG also hope that Bloodline will become a long-running, returning documentary series franchise, exploring how the activities and atrocities of some of the world’s most infamous criminals impacted not only their own destinies but also those of the people around them.
Manson’s Bloodline is executive produced by Joe Townley, Zak Bagans, Richard Halliwell, Elin Thomas and Adam Barth.
DRG CEO Halliwell said, “Over the past year or two we have increasingly worked very closely with producers and have become integral to the development process of numerous programmes – scripted and unscripted – from both a financial and content perspective. With our business constantly evolving a full commission was a natural next step and we are delighted that our first greenlight is the high-profile story told in Manson’s Bloodline.
Halliwell continues: “The traditional distribution model is no longer viable; distributors cannot sit back and wait for programming to come to them. We need to be quick, flexible and use our market knowledge – and instincts – to grab great content and ensure it moves swiftly from a paper idea into production. Manson’s Bloodline, with its extensive exclusive elements, was a gift of a treatment, but it also had My Entertainment attached. We know the team there well and they have an enviable reputation for delivering great shows, so we really didn’t need to deliberate. This has been a very positive development for DRG and we are now pursuing a full slate of our own commissions.”
Michael Yudin, founder of My Entertainment added, “As well as our track-record for creating cutting-edge content, such as Pros Vs. Joes and Breaking Borders, we are known for pioneering new business models and co-developing projects with international partners. However, this is the first time we have been directly commissioned by a company best known as a distributor. DRG’s upfront development support and subsequent quick greenlight, plus the combination of our joint expertise, has produced a fascinating series that was not only able to capture key events as they happened, such as the Manson funeral, but also deliver in good time for broadcasters to schedule for 2019”.
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