British distributor DRG has fully funded New York-based production outfit MY Entertainment’s 4 x 60-minute docuseries on infamous cult leader and convicted mass murderer Charles Manson as its first original commission.
The previously announced Manson’s Bloodline follows Jason Freeman, Manson’s grandson, on a quest to meet his 82-year-old grandfather before his death in prison on Nov. 19, 2017 in an attempt to come to terms with his past.
The series also features previously unheard phone calls that Manson had with Freeman from prison; Freeman’s battle for his grandfather’s body following his death; and exclusive footage of Manson’s funeral.
DRG decided to fully fund production and commission the series, without a broadcaster commitment, after working closely alongside Michael Yudin‘s MY Entertainment.
Reelz has since come aboard as broadcaster in the U.S. DRG has also sold the pan-Scandinavian rights to SVOD service Viaplay.
MY Entertainment and DRG will now look to transform Bloodline into a long-running, returning docuseries franchise that explores “how the activities and atrocities of some of the world’s most infamous criminals impacted not only their own destinies but also those of the people around them.”
As a result, DRG is now developing a full slate of its own commissions.
Manson’s Bloodline, meanwhile, will be delivered late summer, in advance of next year’s 50th anniversary of the Manson Family murder spree.
The series is executive produced by Joe Townley at MY Entertainment and Zak Bagans of Zak Bagans Entertainment. DRG’s Richard Halliwell, Elin Thomas and Adam Barth also serve as executive producers.
“Over the past year or two we have increasingly worked very closely with producers and have become integral to the development process of numerous programs – scripted and unscripted – from both a financial and content perspective,” said Halliwell, CEO of DRG, in a statement.
“The traditional distribution model is no longer viable; distributors cannot sit back and wait for programming to come to them. We need to be quick, flexible and use our market knowledge – and instincts – to grab great content and ensure it moves swiftly from a paper idea into production,” Halliwell continued. “Manson’s Bloodline, with its extensive exclusive elements, was a gift of a treatment, but it also had MY Entertainment attached. We know the team there well and they have an enviable reputation for delivering great shows, so we really didn’t need to deliberate.”
“DRG’s upfront development support and subsequent quick greenlight, plus the combination of our joint expertise, has produced a fascinating series that was not only able to capture key events as they happened, such as the Manson funeral, but also deliver in good time for broadcasters to schedule for 2019,” added MY Entertainment founder Michael Yudin.