In Depth

‘Runaway’ Production for A&E

A&E Network has picked up “Runaway Squad,” an unscripted series that follows Joe Mazzilli, a decorated former undercover detective in New York who searches for runaway kids and brings them back to their families on a pro bono basis.

A&E has already aired the pilot as a test; its premiere in December attracted 1.2 million viewers. Granada Television is expected to begin production next month on eight more episodes of the series.

Robert Sharenow, senior VP for nonfiction programming at A&E, says “Runaway Squad” is unique, but fits in with successful A&E series such as “Intervention,” “First 48” and “Manhunters.”

“Joe’s a fantastic character,” Mr. Sharenow says. “[The show is] very dramatic and it’s very real, and that’s what the network is all about.”

As Mr. Mazzilli says, “There are always cases, that’s for sure”—but not all of them will end successfully, in real life or on the show.

Mr. Sharenow notes, “We’ll always be pulling for Joe and hoping that there will be a happy resolution, but we’re absolutely not going to be guaranteeing it.”