EXCLUSIVE: Damian Lewis’ spy documentary series is heading to the Smithsonian Channel. The network, which is a joint venture between CBS Corporation’s Showtime and the Smithsonian Institute, is on the brink of closing a deal for Damian Lewis: Spy Wars (w/t).
Deadline understands that top brass are keen to keep the British actor’s latest project in the CBS Corp family. It comes after Lewis’ Billions was renewed for a fifth season by Showtime following strong numbers for the financial thriller.
Spy Wars, which is the Homeland star’s first foray into factual television, is an eight-part documentary series about spies that originally was commission by A+E Networks’ UK network History. The docu-drama will tell the true stories behind some of the most important international spy operations of the past 40 years.
It is produced by Alaska TV, the British production company responsible for series including BBC Earth’s Fishing Impossible and Channel 4 comedy series Very British Problems, in association with Lewis’ own Rookery Productions. The series is a co-production between A+E Networks UK, which will air it later this year on History, and parent company A+E Networks.
Using reconstructions, the show will see Lewis act as the guide with each episode telling a different spy story from the Cold War through to the “war on terror” and the renewed espionage hostilities of present day. Shot on location in Moscow, Israel and London, it will feature experts and former spies including ex-Mossad, ex-CIA, ex-KGB and ex-MI6.
The series is exec produced by Alaska TV’s Chris Fouracre, Ian Lamarra, Paul Sommers and Gareth Lewis.
In March, Lewis told Deadline about his plans to launch his own indie Rookery Productions. He added that he interested to work on Spy Wars after revealing an interest in the history of espionage, including the formation of the CIA after World War II and the competition between different countries, as well as intra-country agencies. “I’ve never done factual before, but I have broad taste and I want to dabble in this,” he added.