Treadstone was originally announced as a pilot order on USA’s 2018 slate in April but will now bypass the pilot stage and go straight to series. I hear the decision stems in large part from an international distribution deal UCP is negotiating with Amazon. In a similar fashion, UCP’s Syfy’s pilot Nightflyers went directly to series when Netflix took international distribution under its co-licensing model.
I hear new Amazon Studios president Jennifer Salke was instrumental in starting the conversations on Treadstone as she had known the project since its inception and was in on the original pitch in her previous role as president of NBC Entertainment. Because of its ties to the Bourne movie franchise, the project has worldwide appeal and name recognition. It also comes from a proven TV creator/showrunner in Heroes’ Kring.
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Written by Kring, Treadstone explores the origin story and present-day actions of a CIA black ops program known as Operation Treadstone — a covert program that uses behavior-modification protocol to turn recruits into nearly superhuman assassins. The first season follows sleeper agents across the globe as they’re mysteriously “awakened” to resume their deadly missions.
Kring executive produces with Ramin Bahrani, who will direct the pilot. Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner executive produce on behalf of Captivate and Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas will executive produce for Imperative Entertainment (All the Money in the World); and Justin Levy (Beyond) will executive produce. Universal Cable Productions is the studio. Production will begin in 2019.
“As the No. 1 cable entertainment network for the past 12 years, USA Network is delivering a dynamic lineup of big, bold programming – and what could be bigger and bolder than the Treadstone mythology?,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment.
USA’s 2018 pilot slate also includes the Rosario Dawson-led Briarpatch; Dare Me based on the acclaimed novel by Megan Abbott; and Erase, created by Denis Leary and Alex Cary.
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