Red Crown Productions, the shingle behind films including “Honey Boy,” “Hello My Name is Doris” and “Beasts of No Nation,” is expanding into television — starting with a project based on the advent of the “if it bleeds, it leads” local TV news format.

Red Crown has optioned the television rights to “Lights Camera Crime,” a story for the Philadelphia Inquirer that was written by Layla A. Jones and ran on March 29, 2022 as part of the newspaper’s “A More Perfect Union” series.

The scripted project will adapt the story as a fictionalized scripted account, with Daniel Colameco set to write and Yance Ford (“Strong Island”) on board to direct. Red Crown’s Daniel Crown and Yoni Liebling will produce.

A More Perfect Union was promoted as “a special project from The Inquirer examining the roots of systemic racism through institutions founded in Philadelphia,” and the article “Lights Camera Crime” looked into “how a Philly-born brand of TV news harmed Black America.”

Al Primo founded the Eyewitness News format in 1965, which coincided with the launch of Westinghouse’s KYW-TV in Philadelphia. The fast-paced format was meant to add personality and energy to the staid, traditional newscast but as the story noted, the format transformed news media and the “perception of race, crime and fear in major cities across the country.” 

“Immediately reading Layla’s article I knew how significant this story was. This is an eye-opening look into the history of Eyewitness News and its impact. My hope for this series is that it opens the conversation up to the dangers of sensationalized news. Yance could not be a more perfect voice and visionary to join this project and I am so honored to be working with him and Daniel,” said Daniel Crown, who’s the co-founder of Red Crown Productions.

Ford noted how the Eyewitness News format “opened a pandora’s box in the process. Layla’s article is timely and poignant. It’s a deep dive into the intricacies of ‘it bleeds, it leads’ media and its lasting effects on portrayals race and crime.”

Ford is represented by CAA, Cinetic Media and Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein Lezcano Bobb & Dang; Colameco is repped by Zakaria Entertainment and Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson McGinnis Ryan LLP.

Here’s a look at the original video produced by the Philadelphia Inquirer for the story: