As the United States’ southern border continues to be the focal point of much political debate centered around immigration, Paramount Network has put in development Coyote, a scripted drama series starring and executive produced by Emmy-winner Michael Chiklis (The Shield). Additionally, Paramount Network has in the works Southern drama Heaven of Hell, a collaboration with Charter and its Spectrum Originals unit. Kent Alterman, President of Comedy Central, Paramount Network and TV Land talked about both projects in an interview with Deadline about his plans for the Paramount Network.
Coyote, from Emmy-winning director/executive producer Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad) and Sony Pictures Television, follows Agent Ben Clemens (Chiklis) who, on the day of his mandatory retirement from the United States Border Patrol, discovers an illicit tunnel used to mainline black market goods into the United States from Mexico. This soon puts Clemens in the crosshairs of the criminal mastermind he’s spent his career trying to destroy.
“It’s a part tailor-made for him; it’s a really complex character,” Alterman said of Chiklis as Clemens. “He’s a border patrol agent, and he is forced into retirement, and then he gets sucked into all sides of that world, the drug cartels in Mexico, the human trafficking and the authorities on the U.S. side.
The deeper he goes into that world, he discovers more complicated, sometimes dark and nefarious characters. It’s almost like a Breaking Good in a way, because the more he gets sucked into those worlds, the more he gets in touch with his own humanity and keeps evolving as a better person.
It just feels like a very relatable, timely world to explore, but in a way that both has broad appeal, but is more challenging and more rewarding for someone who would invest their time in it where you can go really deep with character and exploring all of the nuances of what it means to be human.”
Written/executive produced by Rodes Fishburne, Heaven of Hell is produced by Anonymous Content and Paramount TV. It is a contemporary southern family saga, told through the eyes of the wife of a prodigal son and his Stanford educated psychiatrist wife who returns home to Mississippi to help run his family business. Searing vertical look at life in the contemporary south and combines strong psychological exploration of characters with deep mystery.
“Rodes Fishburne created this very rich world in the south in Mississippi, very complex, enthralling family dynamics and a lot of characters interrelated in a small town,” Alterman said. “It’s another one that feels like it fits right into our creative filters, and we’re excited about it.”
The project stems from Viacom and Charter’s deal to partner on original content. Fishburne, Arika Mittman, John Lee Hancock, who is set to direct and David Kanter exec produce.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.