Both new series were announced Wednesday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif.
“Knightfall” is a 10-episode scripted series centered around the Knights Templar warriors of the Crusades, including the infamous Friday, Oct. 13, 1307, burning at the stake. It will premiere in late 2016 and is created by Renner’s producing partner, Don Handfield and Richard Rayner.
Produced by A+E Studios, Handfield and Renner are exec producing via their shingle, The Combine. Other exec producers are Midnight Radio’s Jeff Pinkner, Andre Nemec, Josh Appelbaum and Scott Rosenberg. Jana Bennett, Arturo Interian and Russ McCarroll are the executives in charge of production for History.
“We are thrilled to partner with Jeremy Renner, The Combine, Midnight Radio and A+E Studios to tell the intriguing story of the Knights Templar, which has been shrouded in mystery until now,” said Paul Buccieri, president of A&E and History, who made the announcement. “Premium scripted content continues to be a growing part of the History portfolio, with an eye towards quality historical fact-based storytelling, and ‘Knightfall’ is the perfect fit for our brand.”
“Knightfall” will be distributed internationally by A+E Networks. Renner is represented by Untitled, CAA and Patti Felker. He previously narrated the event series “The World Wars” for History.
“Six,” an action military drama inspired by current events, has landed an eight-episode order. Hailing from A+E Studios and The Weinstein Company, the show follows a brotherhood of modern American warriors, Navy SEAL Team Six whose 2014 mission to eliminate a Taliban leader in Afghanistan goes awry when they uncover a U.S. citizen working with the terrorists.
“We are thrilled to partner with William and David Broyles, Harvey Weinstein and the entire team, including our own A+E Studios, to bring this epic tale to History,” said Paul Buccieri, president of A&E and History. “The backdrop surrounding this elite team of American soldiers — from their lives at home to the astonishing bravery they display serving our country — provides an amazing canvas for stories that deserve to be told.”
Penned by William and military special operations veteran David Broyles, “Six” will be exec produced by the writing duo, plus Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Alfredo Barrios, Jr. and George W. Perkins. Bruce C. McKenna will serve as exec consultant, and will also write with the Broyles, Barrios and Karen Campbell. Retired U.S. Navy SEAL Mitchell Hall will serve as the technical advisor.
Harvey Weinstein commented: “The idea originally came to me when I read about Boko Haram kidnapping school children in Africa. I thought about how would our world react and it brought on the idea of creating a series about the world of SEAL Team Six because the story felt as poignant and timely as ever. Each year will feature a different theater of war — the first starting in Africa. We then brought on Bill, whom I long admired, along with David to write the pilot. They took my idea and developed a brilliant script for the project and added authenticity to the world in a way that only firsthand experience could possibly bring. ‘Six’ is a series that recognizes this country’s great heroes and soldiers, and there’s no doubt that it will make for some of the most important, provocative television seen in ages. While we had vast interest from other networks, our great relationship with Nancy Dubuc, Paul Buccieri and Barry Jossen made History the clear choice.”
Jana Bennett, president and general manager of History, added, “‘Six’ represents the type of authenticity History values from our creative and writing teams. This series will reflect the network’s renewed focus on core programming which embraces our recent history as well as our deeper past.”
History also announced the premiere date for Craig Ferguson’s new series “Join or Die,” which will debut on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 11 p.m.
In the half-hour show, the comedian and former late-night host debates provocative and timely topics with a panel of celebrities and history experts. Judd Apatow, Jason Biggs, Jack Black, Julie Bowen, Courtney Cox, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Jay Leno, Joel McHale and Elijah Wood are all set to guest star.