Telepic will be cabler's first scripted program

Simon Beaufoy will be the springboard for Planet Green’s first foray into scripted programming, with the Discovery-owned cabler planning the U.S. premiere of the scribe’s two-part telepic “Burn Up” Dec. 6-7.

Starring Bradley Whitford, Neve Campbell and Rupert Penry-Jones, “Burn Up” debuted in the U.K.’s BBC2 last year.

Planet Green prexy-general manager Laura Michalchyshyn told Daily Variety that she has been tracking the thriller about climate change and an international oil-industry conspiracy since seeing Beaufoy discuss it on a Mipcom panel in October 2007, eight months before Planet Green launched.

“I think it’s ground-breaking, it’s provocative, and it’s really dead on in ter ms of messaging for this channel,” Michalchyshyn said.

Penry-Jones plays an oilman who is best friends with Whitford’s Washington lobbyist. Campbell portrays an environmental activist who upsets their status quo.

Planet Green is timing the airing of “Burn Up” to coincide with the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen that begins Dec. 7. Off-air promotion will largely be online and via social media.

Omar Madha directed the script by Beaufoy, with Stephen Garrett and Christopher Hall exec producing. Kudos Film and Television (“Life on Mars”) produced. Locations in “Burn Up” range from Saudi Arabia to the Arctic.

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