×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Spike Gives Straight-to-Series Order to ‘Red Mars’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Spike has made a big move into scripted programming, giving “Red Mars” a straight-to-series order with 10-episodes, Variety has learned exclusively. The hourlong drama marks the cabler’s first original scripted series in nine years.

“Sense8” co-creator J. Michael Straczynski will serve as writer, exec producer and showrunner on “Red Mars.” He will exec produce with “Game of Thrones” co-exec producer Vince Gerardis, who first brought the project to Spike, plus David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross of Skydance Television, which is the studio on the series.

Based on Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy of novels — “Red Mars,” “Green Mars” and “Blue Mars” — which chronicle mankind’s colonization and transformation of the red planet, the series will follow the first settlers charged with terraforming a mysterious planet, all of whom have competed to be a part of the mission. “Red Mars” will delve into the lives of these relative strangers, cut off from everything they’ve ever known and living in the harshest environment imaginable. Regarded as the best novels ever written on the subject, Robinson’s trilogy has been adapted in 21 languages.

“The heart and soul of ‘Red Mars’ is about humanity. This group of strangers must find a way to live together and survive under the most daunting conditions mankind has ever faced to become the first living generation of Martians. They will be each other’s greatest source of strength — and if they can’t coexist — the greatest reason for failure,” said Spike’s exec vice president of original series, Sharon Levy, who will oversee the project, along with Spike’s Ted Gold, Justin Lacob and Lauren Ruggiero.

“We are thrilled to join forces with Spike to bring Kim Stanley Robinson’s dynamic world of the Mars trilogy to television audiences for the first time ever, particularly in the brilliant creative voice of science fiction legend J. Michael Straczynski,” added Marcy Ross, president of Skydance Television, which is also behind WGN America’s “Manhattan” and Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie.”

“I look forward to being a part of bringing my long time client’s literary achievement to the screen. Its themes are important to the future we are creating,” Gerardis added of Robinson, who will consult on the series.

The order for “Red Mars” comes after Spike axed plans for Jerry Bruckheimer’s drama “Harvest,” after ordering a 10-episode series, as sources said Spike had difficulty finding a top showrunner and high-profile lead.

Until this summer, it was nearly a decade since the Viacom-owned network had scripted fare, though in July, miniseries “Tut” performed very well for the cabler, averaging 2.2 million viewers over three nights.

Vlad Wolynetz, who worked on “Tut,” will serve as co-exec producer on “Red Mars.” Along with Skydance TV, Straczynski’s Studio JMS company, which is behind “Sense8” at Netflix, will also produce the upcoming Spike series.

“Red Mars” is set to go into production next summer for a January 2017 debut.

More TV

  • Emilia Clarke

    Emilia Clarke Says She's Been Pressured to Do Nude Scenes After 'Game of Thrones'

    Emilia Clarke revealed that she’s been pressured to do nude scenes on projects following her role as the occasionally nude Daenerys Targaryen on “Game of Thrones.” Now a seasoned actor, Clarke is quick to shut down producers who won’t respect her boundaries. “I’m a lot savvier with what I’m comfortable with, and what I am [...]

  • CBS Makes Streaming News Available to

    CBS Makes Streaming News Available to Affiliates

    Any news junkie in need of a live-Information fix can toggle on to any number of streaming news outlets. Now, TV stations affiliated with CBS can do the same. CBS News told affiliates in a memo Tuesday that it would allow them to use live coverage from its CBSN streaming-video hub to keep news events [...]

  • Baby Yoda The Mandalorian

    The Star of 'The Mandalorian:' Baby Yoda

    SPOILER ALERT: This story contains spoilers for the first two episodes of “The Mandalorian,” if wish to be surprised you do, only annoyance will you find.  BB-8 and the Ewoks can step aside with the latest expansion of the “Star Wars” universe with Disney Plus’s “The Mandalorian.” There’s a new addition to the long list [...]

  • Vikings S4 Finale

    'Vikings' Sequel Series Set at Netflix From Michael Hirst, Jeb Stuart

    Fans of the History series “Vikings” rejoice! Netflix has ordered the follow up series titled “Vikings: Valhalla,” which will be set 100 years after the conclusion of the original show. The sixth and final season of “Vikings” on History is set to debut on Dec. 4. “Valhalla” will be executive produced by “Vikings” creator Michael [...]

  • Olympics

    NBCUniversal Sets Molly Solomon to Oversee Olympics Production, Replacing Jim Bell

    NBC’s Tokyo Olympics has a new contestant. Molly Solomon, a veteran sports producer who has been with NBC since 1990, has been tapped as the new executive producer of NBCUniversal’s Olympics broadcast, one of the most important production jobs at the Comcast-owned media conglomerate. She begins her new role immediately, with just months to go [...]

  • Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci Join Showtime

    Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci Join Showtime 'Yellowjackets' Pilot

    Showtime’s “Yellowjackets” pilot is rounding out its cast. The network has announced that “Camping” star Juliette Lewis and original “Addams Family” actor Christina Ricci have boarded the project as series regulars, joining already announced cast members Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress and Jasmin Savoy Brown. “Yellowjackets” tells the story of a team of talented high school [...]

  • Kevin Hart Fatherhood

    Kevin Hart Sets Netflix Docu-Series 'Don't F--k This Up'

    Kevin Hart is expanding his partnership with Netflix with a new six-part documentary series named “Don’t F–k This Up.” Hart’s Hartbeat Productions will produce alongside Lionsgate, Makemake, 3 Arts Entertainment, and Magical Elves, with the show set to debut on Netflix on Dec. 27.  It will follow the comedian’s day-to-day lifestyle as he tackles what [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content