Robert Redford, a noted student of American history, introduces and exec produces The West, the latest docu-drama out of the Stephen David Entertainment stable. Originally for Discovery Channel in the US, it is now set up at AMC and the cable net will launch it next year.
Banijay Group acquired US prodco Stephen Davis earlier this year, meaning the latter’s content will be distributed by Banijay International moving forward. The West, however, will be sold internationally by DRG, which picked up the rights before the Banijay-Stephen David deal.
DRG, which is part of the Modern Times Group and has been on a programme acquisitions drive in the past year, will start selling The West at MIPCOM.
“It is the definitive guide to the first group of people to follow the American dream,” says Noel Hedges, executive VP, content, at DRG. “All of the key figures are in there, such as Jesse James and Wyatt Earp.”
Filmed in Utah and Virginia, the 8x60mins series will go out on AMC in the US, the same channel that screened Stephen David’s mafia series, Making of the Mob.
The drama-doc style of the producer’s shows does provide some of the appeal of scripted, but at factual prices, and are still likely to work for factual buyers.
“It could crossover into some [scripted] slots, but is really for factual buyers as it gives them a great way to migrate into drama, and allows them to move into a new area,” says Hedges. “This is not a ‘scripted drama’, but the drama is pushed to the fore.”
The DRG exec adds that this period of US history has built-in international appeal. “A lot of Americana doesn’t travel, but the West is almost a brand in itself.”
DRG will have an extended promo for buyers at the market.
The show: The West
The producers: Stephen David Entertainment, Sundance Productions
The distributor: DRG
The broadcaster: AMC (US)
The concept: Robert Redford-introduced docu-drama series about the history of American West