EXCLUSIVE: Spike TV has ordered It Was Him, a six-part documentary series from Objective Media Group. The project, which examines convicted killer Ed Edwards, will fall under a new Spike Serialized franchise for limited-run non-scripted series the network is launching, which also will include the previously announced TIME: The Kalief Browder Story and The John McAfee Project. The docu series under the Spike Serialized umbrella will take an in-depth look into subjects that resonate culturally.
Sharon Levy, Spike’s EVP, Original Series, said that Spike Serialized came out of the network’s desire to be able to do “some amazing projects” that don’t lend themselves to long runs but are well suited as “mini events.” While doing them as one-offs did not make business sense, “creating that umbrella helps convey to the viewers that they are getting topical, close-ended series from marquee auspices.” Additionally, Levy noted that there is a significant audience overlap between scripted series and such serialized documentaries, so the network plans to use the docu franchise to provide “scripted-like” fare on Spike year-round. Set to debut first is The John McAfee Project, followed by TIME.
It Was Him centers on Wayne Wolfe who, less than a year ago, discovered that his real grandfather was the deceased killer Ed Edwards who was convicted of five cold cases in his 70s, but had potentially embarked on a decades-long murder spree. The series examines the infamous murderer through an investigation led by Wolfe and John Cameron, a cold-case expert and retired detective who has been investigating Edwards for almost a decade. Cameron’s meticulously compiled evidence has Edwards as the ultimate suspect in some of the most well-known murder cases, including the Zodiac Killer, Laci Peterson and many more.
Edwards was arrested in 2009 and found guilty of five grisly murders over 20 years, all of which involved kidnapping, shootings, stabbings, torture, auto theft, all under an assumed identity. He died of natural causes in prison in 2011, four months before his execution.
“We felt we had to do this series; we felt it was such rich, personal, emotional storytelling with the two characters at the center” Levy said.
It Was Him, which has begun production, was developed by Objective Media Group’s Jimmy Fox, who will executive produce, along with Wolfe and the showrunning team Jackson Nguyen and Todd Crites of Turn Left Productions. Also executive producing for Objective/All3Media are Layla Smith and Greg Lipstone. Additional executive producers include Leonid Leonov and Kenny Dale Borill.
This marks the sixth series order for Objective since Fox joined the company 2.5 years ago. The company currently produces the Emmy-nominated CNN series United Shades of America and CNBC’s Make Me a Millionaire Inventor, as well as upcoming series Hard Evidence: O.J. Is Innocent, for Investigation Discovery, Hollywood Darlings for POP and scripted drama The Arrangement for E!.
In addition to Levy, the Spike Serialized projects are being overseen by Chachi Senior, SVP of Original Series; and Justin Lacob, VP of Original Series.
The six-part TIME: The Kalief Browder Story, from executive producer Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and Weinstein Television, tells the story of Kalief Browder, a young African-American student who spent three years on Rikers Island without ever being convicted of a crime.
The six-part The John McAfee Project, directed and exec produced by Billy Corben, explores the life of virus software creator John McAfee and will reveal unanswered questions about his life ranging from drug-fueled college days in England to learning to battle computer viruses early in his career at Lockeed in the 1980’s, to starting McAfee and Associates in 1987, to a 2012 murder investigation in Belize.