A half-hour comedy about a Broadway has-been starring Kevin Kline is among MGM+’s new slate of series. “American Classic” is one of several other scripted shows and docuseries to be developed at the premium linear channel and streaming service, including one documenting the rise of underground disco.
Formerly known as Epix and rebranding to MGM+ on Jan. 15 (coinciding with the “Godfather of Harlem” Season 3 premiere), the platform unveiled a slew of upcoming programming, joining already announced series like limited show “A Spy Among Friends” with Guy Pearce (March 12), the second season of sci-fi “From” (April 23) and true-crime docuseries “Murf the Surf” (Feb. 5). There were also sophomore renewals for “Rogue Heroes” and “Billy the Kid.”
Below is a full lineup of the newly announced slate:
“The Emperor of Ocean Park” (scripted)
From John Wells Productions and Warner Bros. Television, “The Emperor of Ocean Park” is based on Stephen L. Carter’s best-selling thriller novel. Set in the worlds of D.C. politics, Ivy League academia and the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard, the show centers on Talcott Garland’s quiet life as an Ivy League law professor whose world is shattered when his father, Judge Oliver Garland, dies of an apparent heart attack. Tal’s sister, Mariah, a former journalist and constant conspiracy theorist, questions the death, and believes that the judge, a former failed Black nominee to the Supreme Court, was met with foul play. Sherman Payne is the writer, with Damian Marcano attached to direct.
Based on the 1997 MGM film penned by Chris Brancato, this 1930s-set crime drama follows the true story of Harlem “Numbers Queen” Stephanie St. Clair’s rise to prominence and mentorship of Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson. MGM+ Studios is developing, and Brancato and Monica Macer are co-creating and executive producing.
“Earth Abides” (scripted)
When a plague of unprecedented virulence sweeps the globe, the human race is all but wiped out. In the aftermath, only a few shattered survivors remain to struggle against the slide into barbarism and extinction. The show is based on the 1949 post-apocalyptic novel of the same name by George R. Stewart, and is being developed by MGM+ Studios with Michael Phillips, Juliana Maio and Kearie Peak attached as executive producers.
“American Classic” (scripted)
“American Classic” follows a man desperately trying to save himself, his family and his hometown in the only way he knows how — by putting on a show, per its logline. A Broadway star and notorious narcissist, Richard Bean (Kline), experiences a spectacular public meltdown and opts to return home to the family-run theater where he first became aware of his own brilliance. When he arrives, he’s shocked to find that his brother (Jon Tenney) and his brother’s wife (Richard’s former lover) have turned his temple of art into a dinner theater. To make matters worse, his hometown is teetering on the edge of economic disaster. Inspired, Richard vows to put on a show so great that it will save the theatre, the town and, most importantly, his career. Michael Hoffman, Bob Martin, Leslie Urdang, Anthony Bregman, and Miriam Mintz are attached as executive producers, along with Kline. “American Classic” is a co-production between MGM+ Studios and Anonymous Content’s AC Studios.
In 2030, the oceans have risen rapidly, and the entire planet will soon be submerged. But the discovery of another life-sustaining planet light years away gives hope to those who remain alive to make the generations-long journey. Based on the books by Stephen Baxter, the series is in development as a co-production between MGM+ Studios and Anonymous Content’s AC Studios.
“Hollywood Black” (unscripted)
Based on the book by historian Donald Bogle, this four-part docuseries tells the epic story of the actors, writers, directors and producers who fought for their place on the page, behind the camera, on the screen and in the credits. The show is billed as a definitive chronicle of a century of the Black experience in Hollywood. Executive producers are Culture Machine’s Justin Simien (“Dear White People”) and Kyle Laursen, Significant Productions’ Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi (“Godfather of Harlem”), as well as RadicalMedia’s Dave Sirulnick, Stacey Reiss and Jon Kamen (“Summer of Soul”). Simien and Jeffrey Schwartz are set to direct.
“Hot Stuff” (unscripted)
Disco is more than “Saturday Night Fever” and the iconic club Studio 54: This four-part docuseries dives into the rise of the genre as a liberation movement, from its birth in underground gay clubs, where DJs broke new music on their twin turntables and exploded onto the scene. Oscar-nominated documentary studio XTR (“They Call Me Magic”) will be producing the series, while David Friendly and Lesley Chilcott are attached as executive producers.
“The Devil Within” (unscripted)
Based on the hit Cavalry Audio podcast of the same name, the four-part true-crime show follows the murder of Betty Ann Sullivan during the height of the Satanic Panic. What started as a dark, small-town murder investigation quickly spiraled into a paranormal mystery. The project will be executive produced by Eli Roth with Dirk Hoogstra and Nicole Sorrenti for Half Yard Productions, a North Road Company.
“Wonderland Murders & the Secret History of Hollywood” (unscripted)
Best-selling crime novelist Michael Connelly (“Lincoln Lawyer,” “Bosch”) returns to the Wonderland Murders story to executive produce a four-part documentary series on the subject, which he first exhumed in the podcast of the same name. It follows Scott Thorson, best known as Liberace’s lover and author of the tell-all “Behind the Candelabra,” which held the keys to the infamous Wonderland Murders. What unfolds is Thorson’s “nine lives,” stretching beyond the Wonderland Murders, and his unreliable narration. EPs also includ Jen Casey and Nick Gilhool for Miziker Content; Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman for The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC), a part of Sony Pictures Television; and Rick Jackson. Alison Ellwood (“Laurel Canyon”) will direct as well as executive produce.
MGM+ previously announced upcoming shows Miami-based period drama “Hotel Cocaine,” sequel “Belgravia: The Next Chapter,” an as-yet untitled docuseries about the Amityville murders and “San Francisco Sounds” (working title), which explores the Bay Area’s evolving music scene for a decade beginning in 1965.