National Geographic is the latest network to venture into scripted series. The network has handed a series order to Act of Valor, a scripted series based on the feature film of the same name which hails from Relativity Television and Tandem Communications. Act of Valor marks the first scripted series for Relativity, who are behind numerous successful features and unscripted series.
Act of Valor is being penned by Erik Jendresen and tells the story of pararescuemen, also known as PJs, who are the unsung heroes that are tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments. Tandem Communications – who are also behind Crossing Lines, which was recently renewed for a second season – are serving as the studio for the series and will handle global distribution.
The move into scripted series comes after National Geographic tested the waters with a number of one-off scripted projects. They started on that path after acquiring the feature film Seal Team Six, which was the highest-rated program in 2012 for the network. The success of the Seal Team Six was followed by factual drama Killing Lincoln, which ranks as the network’s highest rated program of 2013. National Geographic also has spiritual successor Killing Kennedy on tap for a November premiere.
“Relativity’s unique model allows us to successfully transform a film such as Act of Valor into a highly engaging television series”, said Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity. “Through this process, networks are able to broadcast shows with built-in-audiences of viewers already invested in a story, while the studio monetizes our content in new ways.”
Tom Forman, CEO of Relativity Television, commented: “The film Act of Valor was ground-breaking in its unique approach, and we look forward to applying its gritty, realistic vision to television. We could not ask for a better home for the series than National Geographic Channel.”
Howard Owens, President of National Geographic Channels, said: “With the incredible success of our original scripted feature films, we are expanding our offerings with a high quality scripted series we know will resonate with our viewers. After the success of our documentary series Inside Combat Rescue about PJs in Afghanistan, we wanted to tell more incredible stories of these heroes, and this series will allow us to do so in an exciting and dramatic way, while still delivering real, authentic stories our viewers expect from us. We could not have a better partner than Relativity to take this next step.”
While Tim Halkin, COO of Tandem Communications, added: “With a powerful contemporary storyline of global anti-terrorism, Act of Valor is an intense, fast-paced series that will resonate with viewers worldwide. We are excited to work with Relativity, as well as the talented Erik Jendresen, who is so skilled and creative in this genre of entertainment.”