The network has given the greenlight to a second season of the disease-centered drama, focusing on the anthrax attacks of 2001.
“Hot Zone” hails from Touchstone Television (a division of Disney Television Studios), 20th Television, ABC Signature and Scott Free Productions. Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson are both set to return as executive producers and showrunners for the second installment.
“The gripping, propulsive story of the hunt for the anthrax killer who terrorized the country in the dark days that followed the Sept. 11 attack couldn’t be more timely,” said Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president of global scripted content and documentary films at Nat Geo. “As the world battles COVID-19, another deadly and mysterious virus, ‘The Hot Zone: Anthrax’ is a scientific thriller for our time.”
The second season will depict the events which occurred just weeks after 9/11 and which involved letters containing anthrax being sent to unsuspecting victims in Florida, Washington, D.C. and New York. The anonymous assault claimed five lives, left 17 others sick and caused panic throughout the U.S. An unlikely team of USAMRIID scientists, FBI agents and Justice Department personnel slowly closed in on a shocking prime suspect.
Nat Geo renewing the series is hardly surprising, given that it touts “Hot Zone” as its highest-rated scripted series ever.
“While many of us can recall the breaking news headlines and the widespread fear that ensued when anthrax emerged in America, there are still layers to this story that have not yet been told,” said Souders. “The second season of our anthology series will dive deep into the forensic investigation of a simple envelope that sent the entire Eastern Seaboard into a panic.”
Season 1 of “Hot Zone” starred Julianna Margulies and was based on Richard Preston’s bestselling book. It was inspired by the true events surrounding the origins of the Ebola virus and its arrival on U.S. soil in 1989.
“After a terrific collaboration with our friends at National Geographic on ‘The Hot Zone,’ we couldn’t be more excited to be back in business with the same stellar team for another season,” said David W. Zucker, president of Scott Free Television. “All of us well remember the anthrax attacks in 2001, which rocked and terrified the country. We’re eager to tell this extraordinary story of all the drama that unfolded to overcome the attacks and identify the perpetrator.”
In addition to Souders and Peterson, “The Hot Zone: Anthrax” will be exeucutive produced by Scott Free’s Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker, as well as Jordan Sheehan. Lynda Obst is an executive producer, while Richard Preston is on board as a co-executive producer on the series.