Sundance Channel Enters Nimrod Nation

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Beverly Hills, Calif. -- It was once a commercial topic for ESPN. Now Watersmeet, on the upper peninsula of Michigan, is an eight-episode series for Sundance Channel.

Brett Morgen, the director, called the cablecast of Nimrod Nation on the basic channel “subversive,” explaining that the town is the “ultimate red-state” community, but its television profile is on left-leaning Sundance. The show depicts life in the tiny town, which came to national attention when ESPN did a commercial campaign centering on a list of the top 10 quirkiest school mascot names (Watersmeet is hunting country, and Nimrod is a term for hunters in the book of Genesis).

Morgen said he was interested in creating the series about the town after its school’s participation in the commercial campaign resulted in the sale of $750,000 in logo merchandise.

The series follows town life and its obsession with its high-school basketball team through its 2005-06 season. The series will begin Nov. 26.

Another series, Sin City Diaries,shadows Las Vegas prosecutors and defenders through a selection of violent-crime prosecutions. Producer Jean-Xavier de Lestrade (Murder on a Sunday Morning)said producers considered other cities, including Miami, but settled on Las Vegas because the district attorney’s office signed a written agreement to let the production do “everything we want,” he said. That said, individual prosecutors decided whether or not to cooperate fully with producers on cases with death-penalty implications.

This series will debut Sept. 10.