Aquarius is the first project out of Tomorrow ITV Studios, the new joint-venture prodco ITV Studios and Endeavor Talent Agency co-founder Marty Adelstein created earlier this year to make straight-to-series projects.
The US broadcast networks’ increasing openness to the straight-to-series model has opened the door to independent studios such as ITV, which cannot enter the risky and expensive pilot system. Accordingly, NBC has ordered a full 13x60mins of Aquarius, which will play on the US network’s midseason or summer grid next year.
Aquarius stars David Duchovny as a troubled detective in late 1960s LA. He is investigating a small-time criminal who turns out to be a much more sinister figure than he initially appears: Charles Manson, played by Game of Thrones’ Gethin Anthony. Duchovny’s younger partner goes deep undercover, as both cops become involved with Manson’s twisted world.
The drama is based on an original idea from John McNamara, who exec produced another ITV Studios straight-to-series show for NBC, the US adaptation of Prime Suspect.
“It’s grounded in something real, which is something that is helpful in the international market,” says Ruth Clarke, director of global acquisitions and coproductions at ITV Studios Global Entertainment. “Duchovny plays a fictional cop, but the stories are related to real murders. He’s a complicated character, and his partner ends up in the Manson tribe.”
ITV Studios will premiere the opening episode at MIPCOM in October where the drama gets its international launch, with (schedules permitting) behind the camera and on-screen talent in attendance.
Clarke says she is hopeful of a UK deal for the show, and the likes of Australia, France and Germany are also key sales targets. “With the majors, [acquisition execs] buy into the idea of a show based on the pilot and we’re hoping they do the same with Aquarius,” Clarke says.
The show: Aquarius
The producer: Tomorrow ITV Studios
The distributor: ITV Studios Global Entertainment
The broadcaster: NBC (US)
The concept: An LA detective seeks to catch notorious criminal Charles Manson by entering his twisted world