A+E unveils factual slate, incl Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman & Workerbee’s Janet Jackson shows


A+E Networks has commissioned a swathe of new unscripted programming for Lifetime, History Channel and A&E, including titles from Hollywood stars Morgan Freeman, Kevin Costner and Bradley Cooper.

Headed to History Channel is a new eight-part docuseries, Keven Costner’s The West (working title), hosted and executive produced by the Yellowstone star, alongside historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Produced by RadicalMedia in association with Territory Pictures, Pastimes Productions and Six West MediaTM group, the series aims to transcend the clichés and myths of the ‘Wild West’ and explore its true spirit of opportunity, adventure and peril through the diverse, complex characters and untold stories that defined the era.

Also hailing from RadicalMedia (in association with GroupM Motion Entertainment) for History Channel is FDR, a miniseries once again exec produced by Doris Kearns Goodwin, alongside Hollywood star Bradley Cooper under his production company Lea Pictures.

The three-night documentary event series will premiere on Memorial Day and create a portrait of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, unpacking how the former president’s own fight with polio prepared him for the challenges of leading the United States through the Great Depression and World War II.

Meanwhile, Black Patriots: The 761st Battalion (working title) is a two-hour documentary from actor Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary’s production company, Revelations Entertainment, in association with GroupM Motion Entertainment.

The film will tell the true story of the 761st Tank Battalion, the first Black tank unit to serve in combat during World War II, and explore in-depth the two major battles they faced – the expansion of Nazism in Europe and racism, oppression, and inequality at home.

Produced by Six West MediaTM group, the 10 x 60-minute The UnBelievable With Dan Aykroyd (working title) is hosted by the actor, comedian and producer, who goes in search of the truth behind some of the world’s most bizarre, real-life occurrences.

Cooking & music

New to A&E, meanwhile, is Kings Of BBQ (working title), which follows actors and producers Anthony Anderson and Cedric The Entertainer as they take their love of barbeque to the next level and work together to start their own barbeque empire.

The series is produced by Propagate in association with A Bird And A Bear Entertainment and Just a Kid From Compton.

The network has also greenlit five Biography specials from Banger Films in association with Category 6 Media, telling the stories of music icons including Alice Cooper, Bret Michaels, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider, Sammy Hagar, and Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach.

A&E is also expanding its Home.Made.Nation lifestyle block with new series from celebrity baker, chef, and entrepreneur, Buddy Valastro, television host and designer, Rachael Ray, and comedian and actor Michael Yo. The network has also renewed shows such as Zombie House Flipping as well as expanding with new series Best in Chow and Deliciously Twisted Classics.

Meanwhile, Lifetime and A&E have greenlit a follow up to last year’s Janet Jackson. doc with Janet Jackson: Family First. Produced by Banijay UK’s Workerbee, the series will simulcast on Lifetime and A&E, and will chronicle the legendary singer, songwriter, producer, author, actor, philanthropist and global icon as she embarks on her 2023 “Together Again” tour.

The two channels will also simulcast TLC Forever, a two-hour documentary from One Story Up and Lauren Fulton, chronicling the journey of the US music group.

Lifetime has also ordered Keyshia Cole: This Is My Story, a scripted biopic executive produced by the music star and TV personality who will also make her acting debut, playing herself. The series, from Swirl Films and Big Dreams, will follow Cole from her early days as she honed her musical talents to her rise to a multi-platinum selling recording artist.

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