FX is expanding its drama palette with a 13-episode order for the early 1980s-set “The Americans,” starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as KGB spies posing as a married American couple.
“Americans,” from FX Prods., DreamWorks TV and Fox TV Studios, has been in the works for two years and was inspired in part by the arrests in 2010 of several alleged Russian sleeper espionage agents. DreamWorks TV toppers Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank approached Weisberg, a former CIA staffer who was working as a scribe on DreamWorks’ TNT drama “Falling Skies,” with the idea of developing a series set in the final years of the Cold War.
In “Americans,” the couple’s environment is complicated by the fact that they have two children who don’t know their parents’ true identity. They also live next door to an FBI agent who works in counterintelligence.
Production will begin in October with an eye toward an early 2013 premiere. Gavin O’Connor (“Warrior”) helmed the pilot. Weisberg, Falvey and Frank exec produce with Graham Yost, showrunner of FX’s “Justified.”
FX topper John Landgraf called the show “a taut series that crackles with incredible performances rooted in character perspectives never explored on a U.S. television series.” He invoked “Star Wars” mythology in calling Weisberg “Graham Yost’s talented young Padawan,” and noting that he is joining “a long line of gifted writer-producers who have taken their first shot at greatness on FX.”
“Americans” will join a drama lineup on FX next year anchored by Timothy Olyphant starrer “Justified” and biker ensembler “Sons of Anarchy.”
Earlier this month the cabler ordered a pilot for drama “The Bridge,” based on a Scandinavian series about the hunt for a serial killer.
Separately, FX is expected to pick up another 90 episodes of its Charlie Sheen comedy “Anger Management,” per the terms of its deal with distributor Debmar-Mercury. The show’s initial 10-episode run wraps on Aug. 23, and so long as the show achieves pre-set ratings benchmarks, the cabler is obligated to greenlight the mega backorder.