National Geographic Channel U.S. and Relativity Television are making a push into scripted TV series, teaming with Tandem Communications to produce “Act of Valor.”
The series will be written by Erik Jendresen (“Band of Brothers”) and based on Relativity’s feature film of the same name, which opened No. 1 at the U.S. box office in February 2012 and went on to take in $80 million worldwide.
The companies made the announcement Sunday at the MIPCOM television festival and market in Paris, where Relativity’s chief executive Ryan Kavanaugh delivered the keynote address. Tandem (“The Pillars of the Earth”), a unit of France’s StudioCanal, will act as both the studio on the production and handle international distribution.
“Act of Valor” the series will focus on “para-rescuemen,” also known as PJs, who are the unsung heroes that are tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments.
“The film ‘Act of Valor’ was ground-breaking in its unique approach, and we look forward to applying its gritty, realistic vision to television,” said Relativity TV’s chief executive Tom Forman. “We could not ask for a better home for the series than National Geographic Channel.”
NatGeo garnered record-breaking ratings for its first forays into scripted fare with the factually based feature films “SEAL Team Six” becoming the highest-rated program in 2012 for the network and “Killing Lincoln” becoming its highest-rated program in 2013 to date.
“After the success of our documentary series ‘Inside Combat Rescue’ about PJs in Afghanistan, we wanted to tell more incredible stories of these heroes, and this series will allow us to do so in an exciting and dramatic way,” said National Geographic Channels President Howard Owens.