ID Ventures Into Original Dramas

Investigation Discovery will produce its first scripted drama this year, a three-part mini-series about a noted American serial killer told from multiple, intertwined points of view, the network said at Discovery Communications's upfront in New York Tuesday morning (March 31).

Serial Thriller is a "ripped-from-the-headlines" drama, ID said, based on an actual serial murderer, but the killer's identity is being withheld so it can unfold as part of the series's narrative. It will make its world premiere on the network this summer and will be released theatrically in international markets.

With a network slate completely driven by fact-based programming, Discovery group president Henry Schleiff wasted no time in calling Serial Thriller "a tent-pole series for ID."

Schleiff said the mini-series's "scripted serial format ... enhances our already suspenseful programming,” adding, “For the first time ever, ID provides viewers with the experience of watching an engaging and chilling scripted drama as seen through our authentic, true-crime filter – one that keeps our fans coming back over and over again.”

In one sense the mini-series represents a move from dramatization into full-blown drama. As ID's programming roster has grown from repackaged magazine-format. true-crime themed shows like Dateline and 20/20 -- still staples -- to include an impressive slate of originals, many of its docu-series have taken a turn toward using more and more reenactments with varying degrees of creative license. Examples include Web of Lies, Who the Bleep Did I Marry? and Surviving Evil.

Even its more hard-hitting series like Vanity Fair Confidential, which features true-crime stories from the Conde Nast magazine and which ID renewed earlier this week just as it's about to wrap up its first season, and the vintage-themed Crime to Remember, which recounts notorious crimes of the past with an emphasis on setting the record straight in the context of time, use a certain amount of dramatic license and cinematic style.

Serial Thriller is produced for ID by October Films with Matt Robins, Steve Murphy and Lindsay Shapero as executive producers; Jamie Crawford is writer/director. Eugenie Vink is executive producer for ID.