A+E Networks has set a first-look development pact with Leah Remini and renewed her “Scientology and the Aftermath” docu-series for a third season.
The production deal comes on the heels of A+E’s launch of an unscripted production unit dubbed A+E Originals. The plan is for Remini to develop a range of documentary content, beyond the subject of Scientology, for A&E, Lifetime, History and other in-house A+E platforms.
“I am so incredibly proud of this show and the movement that has started around it which continues to grow each and every day,” said Remini. “I’m honored to have a home at A+E Networks and am grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to expand our relationship telling brave stories and bringing truth to light, no matter the obstacles.”
“Scientology and the Aftermath” won the Emmy for informational series last year. The veteran actress’ expose of the organization birthed by L. Ron Hubbard is one of a handful of docu-series successes (notably “60 Days In” and “Live P.D.”) that have generated renewed momentum for A&E, which had been struggling with double-digit viewership losses.
A+E Originals was crafted by Paul Buccieri, president of A+E Networks Portfolio Group & A+E Studios, and a former unscripted producer. He’s also serving as interim steward, with COO/CFO David Granville-Smith, of the entire A+E group as parent companies Hearst and Disney look for a CEO successor for Nancy Dubuc, who exited last month to become CEO of Vice. Former History exec Steve Ascher is leading the day-to-day charge at A+E Originals as VP.
“Leah is an incredible talent and collaborator with a unique point of view and we are looking forward to developing her brand of brave storytelling to new topics,” said Buccieri. “The creation of A+E Originals provides the opportunity for us to partner directly with the industry’s best nonfiction storytellers like Leah, both in front of and behind the camera, to bring their ideas to audiences around the world.”
The unit expects to order at least 50 hours of programming this year. “Scientology” has been renewed for eight hourlong episodes, plus five specials. “Scientology and the Aftermath” is produced for A&E Network by the Intellectual Property Corporation. Remini, IPC’s Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman, and showrunner Myles Reiff.
Remini is repped by APA, Art2Perform and Hirsch Wallerstein.