Press release from A+E Networks, March 21, 2017:
The iconic, genre-defining series which won countless industry awards, “Biography,” is returning to A+E Networks after five years as a re-imagined global, linear and digital non-fiction franchise. The Emmy Award-winning “Biography,” which will focus on meaningful events or personalities and their impact on our culture, will begin to roll out on A&E, HISTORY and Lifetime domestically and internationally across all platforms beginning this spring. The announcement was made today by Rob Sharenow, EVP & General Manager of A&E and Lifetime.
“Groundbreaking non-fiction programming has always been a cornerstone of A+E Networks, dating back to the earliest days of the multiple Emmy Award-winning series ‘Biography’,” said Sharenow. “A+E’s new incarnation of the gold standard in the industry will focus on the most meaningful moments in our culture from some of the most accomplished non-fiction storytellers of our time.”
Biography.com and the Biography social platforms will re-launch with a new look and feel, and fresh, relevant content to reflect the brand’s up-close-and-personal approach and promise: “the untold, told.”
Building on its roots as a trusted source of information, Biography.com will be re-imagined to help audiences rethink their perspectives on notable people and events, focusing on cultural legacy and relevance.
Initial digital content under the Biography brand will include thousands of profiles of notable cultural figures and influencers; provocative photography; and video that brings to life surprising narratives. The digital platforms also will focus on illustrating the links between biographies and events to help audiences better understand the connections that create history.
Initial linear projects under the Biography brand include:
“The Notorious Life of Biggie Smalls” – 1x120min – A&E Network
“The Notorious Life of Biggie Smalls” is a two-hour, deeply personal “Biography” documentary that will trace the life, death and legacy of the late Christopher Wallace a.k.a. “The Notorious B.I.G.” as told by those who loved him most, including his widow Faith Evans, his mother Voletta Wallace, his close friend Lil Cease, the members of Junior Mafia, and some of the biggest superstars in hip hop. Directed by Mark Ford, this documentary is the definitive biography of Biggie Smalls and the first to be officially authorized by his estate. The film will allow Biggie to narrate his own incredible life story, employing archival footage and audio recordings that have never been heard before. Twenty years after his death, this inspiring and intimate documentary will also focus on Faith Evans as she embarks on an emotional journey to reconcile her turbulent memories, as she works on a new album of duets with her late husband entitled, “The King & I.” The film will explore the people and places that shaped his life: his youth hustling on the streets of Brooklyn, NY, his rise to fame with his friend and collaborator Sean “Diddy” Combs, his relationships with Faith Evans and Lil Kim, his feud with Tupac Shakur, and his shocking murder on the streets of Los Angeles. This will be the most personal and revealing documentary about the late Christopher Wallace that anyone has ever seen.
“The Notorious Life of Biggie Smalls” is directed by Mark Ford and produced by Creature Films in association with Entertainment One (eOne). Executive producers for Creatures Film are Mark Ford and Kevin Lopez. Executive Producers for eOne are John Morayniss and Tara Long. Voletta Wallace and Faith Evans also serve as executive producers. Executive producers for A&E are Elaine Frontain Bryant, Shelly Tatro and Brad Abramson. A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for “The Notorious Life of Biggie Smalls.”
“The End of America: Putin’s Master Plan” (working title) – 1×120 – HISTORY
The End of America: Putin’s Master Plan” (working title) is a revealing 2-hour special that will take viewers on a journey to understand how this cunning spymaster and dictator has sought to change the balance of power, overthrow the existing order, and threaten American supremacy. Putin’s intricate schemes will be unraveled through reports from the spies and sleuths hot on his trail, filling in the blanks of an ongoing investigation into one of the world’s craftiest leaders. Viewers will hear from former bodyguards and KGB comrades; oligarchs and spurned allies who have run afoul of the enigmatic ruler. Additionally, audiences will hear for the first time directly from American spymasters and agents who fought against him in the past and continue to do so today.
“The End of America: Putin’s Master Plan (working title) is produced for HISTORY by Lincoln Square Productions. Terence Wrong will serve as the executive producer and Rudy Bednar will direct for Lincoln Square Productions. Zachary Behr and Jen Wagman serve as the executive producers for HISTORY.
“Who Killed Tupac?”- 6x60min – A&E Network
“Who Killed Tupac?” is a six-hour mini-series that focuses on the investigation, twenty years after the death of the dynamic and influential rapper and actor. Famed civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump will conduct, for the first time ever, a no-stone-unturned investigation. Crump has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and other victims of gun violence who many believe were denied their due process under law. When Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, who went to high school with Crump’s mother, saw that he was fighting for truth and justice for the family of Trayvon Martin, she expressed to him how important that was and asked him to do the same for Tupac and other young black men. In each installment of this investigative series, viewers will learn about the legendary artist’s life while Crump examines key theories surrounding the murder. This docu-series will be the most fascinating and comprehensive look at the rise and life of a great artist, and perhaps the most high-profile unsolved murder in U.S. history. Through Tupac’s own words and exclusive new interviews with eyewitnesses, family, friends, and colleagues, viewers will come to understand every facet of Tupac Shakur’s complex personality.
“Who Killed Tupac?” is produced by Renegade 83 in association with FGW Productions. Executive producers for Renegade 83 are Jay Renfroe and David Garfinkle. Stephanie Frederic is the executive producer for FGW Productions. Jason Sklaver serves as executive producer and director. Benjamin Crump also serves as executive producer. Executive producers for A&E are Elaine Frontain Bryant, Shelly Tatro and Brad Abramson. A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for “Who Killed Tupac?”
“Gotti & Son” (working title) – 4x60min – A&E Network
“Gotti & Son” (working title) is a docuseries that tells the story of the legendary Gambino crime family through the intimate and complicated relationship of John Gotti and his son, John Jr., who rose through the ranks eventually replacing his father once he was imprisoned. The documentary promises unprecedented, exclusive access to the Gotti family to tell for the first time the complete and uncensored story. The narrative spine of the docuseries are never-before-seen segments from a 90-minute video of the last visit between a dying John Gotti Sr. and his son at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, MO. It was during this meeting that John Gotti Jr., asked his father for his blessing to take the unprecedented steps of quitting what might have been one of the last of the great Mafia dynasties.
“Gotti & Son” (working title) is produced by Kaufman Films for A&E. Richard Stratton serves as executive producer and director. Additionally, executive producer for Kaufman Films is Kevin Kaufman. Executive Producers for A&E are Elaine Frontain Bryant, Shelly Tatro, Molly Thompson and Brad Abramson. A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for “Gotti & Son” (working title).
“Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography” (working title) – 1x120min – A&E Network
In this revealing two-hour episode, Elizabeth Smart provides previously untold details of her infamous abduction and 9-month nightmare in the grasp of her bizarre and cruel captors. Now 29-years old, Elizabeth shares the perspective she’s gained on the agonizing ordeal she endured at the tender age of 14. Marking the 15th year anniversary, Elizabeth, her close family, law enforcement and eyewitnesses reveal new information about the harrowing child abduction case that galvanized the attention of a nation – as well as her remarkable recovery, marriage, motherhood, and advocacy on behalf of victims.
“Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography” (working title) is produced by Asylum Entertainment in association with Marwar Junction Productions. Executive producers for Asylum Entertainment are Steve Michaels and Jonathan Koch along with David Michaels. Executive producers for Marwar Junction Productions are Allison Berkley and Joseph Freed. Executive producers for A&E are Elaine Frontain Bryant, Amy Savitsky and Brad Abramson. A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for “Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography” (working title).
“Mike Tyson: Autobiography” (working title) – 1x120min – A&E Network
How did heavyweight boxing champ Iron Mike Tyson go from being “The Baddest Man on the Planet” to the loveable star of “The Hangover” and a self-described “tennis dad?” In the dramatic two-hour special, “Mike Tyson: Autobiography” (working title), Mike Tyson and his wife Kiki share intimate details of how Mike rose from crushing poverty and juvenile delinquency to the soaring heights of sports stardom, international fame and lavish wealth – then lost it all to self-destructive behavior and drug addiction. Mike and Kiki reveal how Mike turned his life around from “zombie mode” to marriage and fatherhood.
“Mike Tyson: Autobiography” (working title) is produced by Asylum Entertainment in association with Marwar Junction Productions. Executive producers for Asylum Entertainment are Steve Michaels and Jonathan Koch along with David Michaels. Executive producers for Marwar Junction Productions are Allison Berkley and Joseph Freed. Executive producers for A&E are Elaine Frontain Bryant, Amy Savitsky and Brad Abramson. A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for “Mike Tyson: Autobiography” (working title).
“David Koresh And The Siege Of Waco” (working title) – 1x120min – A&E Network
In 1993, Mt. Carmel Ranch outside Waco, TX was the site of one of the deadliest sieges in American history. A 51-day standoff between federal agents and the Branch Davidians, led by David Koresh, ended in tragedy. Now, a new Branch Davidian leader, Charles Pace, is living on the same property. His main goal is to repopulate the Branch Davidian sect before the coming apocalypse. This two-hour documentary will weave this current-day narrative with the story of Koresh and his followers. Just in time for the 25th Anniversary of the Waco tragedy, “David Koresh And The Siege Of Waco” (working title) will combine interviews with survivors on location at Mt. Carmel, as well as family, friends, and key ATF/FBI officers, along with cinematic reconstructions and incredible archive.
“David Koresh And The Siege Of Waco” (working title) is produced by Raw TV for A&E. Executive producers for A&E are Elaine Frontain Bryant, Shelly Tatro and Brad Abramson. A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for “David Koresh And The Siege Of Waco” (working title).