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Tupac-Biggie Smalls True Crime Pilot ‘Unsolved’ Picked Up at USA Network

USA Network has picked up a pilot for “Unsolved,” a scripted true crime series based on the murder investigations of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, Variety has learned.

“Unsolved” will chronicle the two major police investigations into the separate murders of rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. Tupac was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in September 1996 at the age of 25, and Biggie was also shot and killed by an unknown assailant in March 1997 at the age of 24.

Anthony Hemingway, who just came off another true crime series with FX’s “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, is set to direct the pilot.

The project is based on the experiences of former LAPD Detective Greg Kading who led multiple law-enforcement task forces investigating Tupac and Biggie’s murders. He authored the book “Murder Rap: The Untold Story of Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations,” which will serve as source material for the TV series. He will consult on the pilot and serve as co-exec producer. Kyle Long (“Suits”) is writing the pilot and will serve as executive producer, along with Hemingway and his producing partner Mark Taylor of their Hemingway Taylor banner. Universal Cable Productions is the studio.

Since their highly publicized deaths, which became worldwide news stories back in the ’90s, Tupac and Biggie’s unsolved murders have been the subject of ongoing discussion for over two decades. In 2002, a feature documentary about the murdered rappers, “Biggie & Tupac,” was released.

“Unsolved” is the latest true crime series to come to TV. Aside from Ryan Murphy’s O.J. Simpson Emmy-winner, NBC is gearing up for “Law & Order: True Crime” with the first season centering around the Menendez brothers. HBO started the recent trend with unscripted six-parter “The Jinx,” based on Robert Durst. Recently announced, Season 3 of Murphy’s “American Crime Story” on FX will be based on the Versace murder.

For USA, “Unsolved” is the fourth pilot to be greenlit for the cabler’s new slate. It joins “The Sinner,” which will star Jessica Biel; 1930’s-set drama “Damnation;” and Yale-set period drama, “The Tap.” All four projects hails from UCP.

Long is represented by WME, The Shuman Co and Hansen Jacobson. Hemingway is repped by WME and Hansen Jacobson.

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