In an interesting move, DRG has commissioned Manson’s Bloodline, a four-episode Charles Manson series from US production company MY Entertainment.
Manson’s Bloodline tells the story of Charles Manson’s grandson, Jason Freeman, and his coming to terms with his notorious grandfather. MY Entertainment obtained extraordinary access and the series features previously unheard telephone calls that Manson had with Jason from prison; Jason’s battle for his grandfather’s body following his death in November 2017; and exclusive footage of Manson’s funeral from earlier this year.
DRG worked closely with MY Entertainment on the project and as development progressed, they decided to fully fund production and commission the show, without a broadcaster attached. Since then U.S. cable network Reelz has come on-board and DRG has sold pan-Scandinavian rights to Viaplay. The move to commission the show – with the expectation that it would become a returning series focussing on different subjects each season – is the latest step in DRG’s evolution from a traditional distribution company to a 360-degree content business that is involved with programme origination and development, financing, talent, production, production services and distribution.
“Over the past year or two we have increasingly worked very closely with producers and have become integral to the development process of numerous programmes – scripted and unscripted – from both a financial and content perspective. With our business constantly evolving a full commission was a natural next step and we are delighted that our first greenlight is the high-profile story told in Manson’s Bloodline”, said DRG CEO Richard Halliwell. “The traditional distribution model is no longer viable; distributors cannot sit back and wait for programming to come to them. We need to be quick, flexible and use our market knowledge – and instincts – to grab great content and ensure it moves swiftly from a paper idea into production.
“Manson’s Bloodline, with its extensive exclusive elements, was a gift of a treatment, but it also had MY Entertainment attached. We know the team there well and they have an enviable reputation for delivering great shows, so we really didn’t need to deliberate. This has been a very positive development for DRG and we are now pursuing a full slate of our own commissions.” The series will deliver late summer, in time for the 50th anniversary of Manson’s killing spree. The executive producers are Joe Townley, Richard Halliwell, Elin Thomas and Adam Barth.
“As well as our track-record for creating cutting-edge content, such as Pros Vs. Joes and Breaking Borders, we are known for pioneering new business models and co-developing projects with international partners. However, this is the first time we have been directly commissioned by a company best known as a distributor”, added Michael Yudin, founder of MY Entertainment. “DRG’s upfront development support and subsequent quick greenlight, plus the combination of our joint expertise, has produced a fascinating series that was not only able to capture key events as they happened, such as the Manson funeral, but also deliver in good time for broadcasters to schedule for 2019”.