Both projects come from Epix’s parent companies Lionsgate and Paramount. A third series is in the works from MGM, the other parent in Epix’s trio of studio partners. Both have 10-episode straight-to-series orders.
Epix has developed original series on and off in the six years since the pay TV venture launched in the fall of 2009. But “Graves” and “Berlin Station” are the first to move beyond the pilot stage.
“Tapping into the creative talents of these entertainment power-houses to deliver this kind of compelling programming is exactly what we had envisioned when we created this joint-venture and launched the channel,” said president-CEO Mark Greenberg. “Our focus was on business success and profitability first and having established that firm business foundation, we are now in a position to launch our original series with these two great shows from Lionsgate and Paramount and a third on the way from MGM.”
Jocelyn Diaz, a Disney and HBO alum, joined Epix in January as exec VP of original series to shepherd the initiative. “Original series provide a platform to build our brand and distinguish our offering. We are proud of the level of quality and sophistication of these projects,” Diaz said.
“Graves,” from Lionsgate TV, features Nolte as a former U.S. president who is determined to right the wrongs of his administration, 20 years after he left office, just as his former wife begins to pursue her own political ambitions. Joshua Michael Stern created the series and will write and direct the episodes. Greg Shapiro will exec produce with Stern.
“‘Graves’ is a perfect vehicle to usher Epix into premium scripted programming, and we look forward to delivering high end quality content for years to come,” said Lionsgate TV president Kevin Beggs.
Paramount TV’s “Berlin Station” follows a CIA officer in Berlin on a mission to find the source of a leak who provided information to a now-famous whistleblower. Novelist Olen Steinhauer is writing the series. Michael Roskam is on board to direct the first two installments. Steinhauer, Roskam, Eric Roth and Anonymous Content will serve as exec producers.
“Olen is among the most respected espionage voices of our time, and Michael has a seasoned and distinct command of noir. Together, they make the ideal creative team to collaborate with on this sophisticated and gritty modern day spy thriller,” said Amy Powell, president of Paramount Television.
(Pictured: Nick Nolte)