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Posted at 02:31 PM ET, 12/11/2012

Discovery greenlights first scripted show about Klondike prospectors, including Jack London


Gold from "Gold Rush." (DISCOVERY CHANNEL)
Silver Spring-based Discovery network has joined the march of non-fiction cable networks heading into the scripted programming business. But Discovery has not strayed far from home — that first project is a miniseries about prospecting for gold.

“Klondike” is based on Charlotte Gray’s novel “Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike.”  It follows six strangers and their fight for survival and wealth in a small, frontier town in the remote Klondike in the late 19th century.

“Discovery created and owns the ‘gold’ narrative with several of our hit series,” Eileen O’Neill, president of both the Discovery and TLC networks, said, by way of explaining why the network had been dancing around the scripted genre for some time and ultimately decided this one was “perfect fit.”

 By “created and owns the ‘gold’ narrative,” she means, of course, reality series “Gold Rush,” which hit another ratings high last week, as well as “Bering Sea Gold,” “Jungle Gold,” etc. Gold is a Discovery channel thing.

 Paul Scheuring (“Prison Break,” “A Man Apart”) is the primary writer and will serve as the project’s exec producer.

 “‘Klondike,’ was the last great gold rush; one which triggered a flood of prospectors ill-equipped, emotionally or otherwise, for the extreme and grueling conditions of the remote Yukon wilderness," said Ridley Scott, who is among the show’s producers.

 "The personal adventures are as epic as the landscape, where ambition, greed, sex and murder, as well as their extraordinary efforts to literally strike it rich, are all chronicled by a young Jack London himself," Scott name dropped — the “The Call of the Wild” and “White Fang” author being among the characters at the heart of the book on which the miniseries is based.

 Last May, when History channel debuted the first part of its three-part miniseries about the Hatfield/McCoy feud, it nabbed an average of 14 million viewers, making it the most watched single broadcast on ad supported cable ever, excluding sports. It also bagged 16 Emmy nominations, culminating in five wins, including ones for lead and supporting actor, for Kevin Costner and Tom Berenger, respectively.

 

By  |  02:31 PM ET, 12/11/2012

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