Freeform has given a 10-episode series order to Motherland: Fort Salem, an hourlong drama from Claws creator Eliot Laurence and executive producers Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick. One of the leads in the project is being recast.
Motherland was one of three hourlong pilots at Freeform, along with Party of Five and Breckman Rodeo, all of which have been garnering solid buzz. Party of Five was the first of the bunch to score a series pickup last month, with Breckman Rodeo still in contention.
Set in an alternate America where witches ended their persecution 300 years ago by cutting a deal with the U.S. government to fight for their country, Motherland: Fort Salem follows three young women — two of them played by Taylor Hickson and Jessica Sutton — from basic training in combat magic into early deployment. In this world, the traditional roles of gender and power are flipped, with the more dominant women on the front lines fighting looming terrorist threats that are familiar to our world — but with supernatural tactics and weapons.
Amalia Holm and Demetria McKinney co-star in the series, written and created by Laurence. The third lead, played by Kelcey Mawema in the pilot, is being recast.
Motherland follows the tradition of Freeform’s breakout hit Siren, which also is a contemporary take on a classic myth, that about mermaids.
Laurence serves as showrunner and executive produces on the series alongside Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick of Gary Sanchez Productions. Maria Maggenti and Steven Adelson will also serve as executive producers; Adelson directed the pilot. Freeform Studios and Gary Sanchez Productions are producing.
“We’re so excited to be able to tell this story rich with female empowerment, complex storytelling and an incredibly creative canon,” said Tom Ascheim, president, Freeform. “While set in an alternative universe, Motherland: Fort Salem will continue the authentic and issues-driven storylines that our network is known for, and what our audience has come to expect. We are thrilled to be working with Eliot, Will, Adam and Kevin on this exceptionally creative tale and look forward to bringing this even further to life.”
Added McKay, “So excited Freeform has given a platform to one of the most original writers working today; Eliot Laurence. Sanchez has worked with Eliot for years and he has astounded us yet again with the imaginative and layered world of Motherland: Fort Salem.”
Gary Sanchez Productions recently produced Vice, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards. It also produces HBO’s critically praised series Succession.
Hickson is repped by Trademark Talent and KC Talent.