SundanceTV Launches True Crime Story Franchise w/Hilarie Burton Morgan, Jena Friedman
SUNDANCETV LAUNCHES “TRUE CRIME STORY” FRANCHISE WITH NEW SERIES HOSTED BY HILARIE BURTON MORGAN AND JENA FRIEDMAN
It Couldn’t Happen Here hosted by Burton Morgan premieres Thursday, September 9 and
Indefensible hosted by Friedman premieres Thursday, October 14 on SundanceTV and AMC+
NEW YORK, NY; August 5, 2021 – Building off of the recent success of critically acclaimed limited true crime series including The Preppy Murder: Death In Central Park, No One Saw A Thing and Jonestown: Terror In the Jungle and the continuing strong performance of off network crime dramas, AMC Networks’ SundanceTV announced the commission of its first true crime franchise. The “True Crime Story” franchise will focus on telling a wide variety of true crime stories from unique perspectives. The first two series announced under the “True Crime Story” banner are It Couldn’t Happen Here hosted by New York Times Best-Selling Author Hilarie Burton Morgan (One Tree Hill, The Walking Dead, Friday Night in with The Morgans), which premieres Thursday, September 9, and Indefensible hosted by Academy Award nominee Jena Friedman (The Daily Show) premiering Thursday, October 14 on SundanceTV and AMC+, AMC Networks premium streaming bundle. AMC Studios Content Distribution is managing worldwide sales. In six, one-hour episodes, It Couldn’t Happen Here will put a spotlight on fascinating small-town American crime stories that demonstrate how crime impacts these tight-knit communities in unique and surprising ways. In six, 30-minute episodes, Indefensible looks into cases where the outcome is shaped by more than what initially meets the eye, and in the process brings something new and entirely unexpected to the genre.
In It Couldn’t Happen Here, life-long small-town community member and advocate Hilarie Burton Morgan visits different small towns in an effort to shine a much-needed light on the unique ways in which crime impacts rural communities and their judicial systems. Too often the heartbreaking events in these towns are largely overlooked because they lack the national media platforms and advocacy resources found in larger cities. In each episode, Hilarie hears the facts of the case from family members and local insiders in an attempt to understand the challenges the community faced investigating the crime, learn the lasting impact the crime has had on the fabric of the town, and ultimately call attention to where justice currently stands. Hilarie embraces these communities, where many know not just the victims, but the perpetrators and those who enable them.
In Indefensible, Jena Friedman travels the country to unspool real cases on the ground, but unlike most true crime shows, this one doesn’t end when the criminal gets locked up. Jena finds there’s always more to the story and drives to a different outcome beyond the simple whodunnit. Using her unflinching comedic point of view and disarming interview skills, Jena uncovers the “why” and “how” not only of crimes themselves, but of our sometimes dysfunctional criminal justice system.
“Some of the most memorable programs on SundanceTV in recent years have focused on true crime stories, as we’ve built the category into an important part of the network’s brand,” said Blake Callaway, general manager of SundanceTV, IFC and BBC America. “Working with Hilarie Burton Morgan and Jena Friedman to bring their talents and points of view to this new franchise is an exciting next step. We can’t wait to share these two new series that will offer a unique take on the genre this fall.”
Hilarie Burton Morgan said, “Advocating for small towns has been the primary focus of my adult life, whether it’s fighting for mom and pop shops, or public schools or facilities like Astor Services. I believe deeply in the value of these small communities. Last year, my husband and I were able to team with the AMC family to shed light on a number of the struggles our community was facing during Covid, as we had local friends and neighbors from the Hudson Valley on as guests for our show “Friday Night In with the Morgans.” Continuing my relationship with the AMC family at SundanceTV and digging deeper into the issues that are specific to small towns is a mission that I’m honored to be part of.”
Jena Friedman said, “Many Americans don’t think about our criminal justice system until they’re in it. I hope this show gives viewers insight into some of the ways in which the system is flawed, so at the very least, they’ll be a little more prepared in the event they ever end up on a jury.”
Hilarie Burton Morgan is the author of The New York Times best-selling book “The Rural Diaries” and runs the production company Mischief Farm with her husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan. She has also established a loyal fan base for her acting roles, including Peyton Sawyer on the hit CW series One Tree Hill, which she recently reunited with her co-stars Sophia Bush and Bethany Joy Lenz to launch “Drama Queens,” a record-breaking Podcast for iHeartRadio. Additionally, Burton Morgan appeared in a highly-rated episode The Walking Dead, starred in and produced AMC’s weekly talk show Friday Night with the Morgans, Council of Dads, Lethal Weapon, White Collar, Grey’s Anatomy, and produced and starred in numerous Lifetime and Hallmark holiday films.
Jena Friedman is a comedian and filmmaker. Her credits include The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Late Show with David Letterman. She’s a contributing writer to The New Yorker and has appeared on such programs as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Conan on TBS, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and most recently in the Sundance hit movie Palm Springs, now on Hulu.
Produced by Bungalow Media + Entertainment, It Couldn’t Happen Here’s executive producers are Robert Friedman, Liz Yale Marsh, and Mike Powers for Bungalow Media + Entertainment as well as Hilarie Burton Morgan for Mischief Farm, Liz DeCesare and Meg Mortimer for Authentic Management Productions, and Po Kutchins.
Produced by Left/Right, Indefensible’s executive producers are Jena Friedman, Ken Druckerman, Banks Tarver, Anneka Jones, and Eve Rodrick.
Since its launch in 1996, SundanceTV has remained true to founder Robert Redford’s mission to celebrate creativity and distinctive storytelling through unique voices and narratives found in the best independent films. From delivering critically acclaimed Emmy®, Golden Globe® and Peabody Award-winning television featuring some of the world’s most talented creators and performers, to showcasing some of the most compelling and iconic films across genres and generations, SundanceTV is a smart and thought-provoking entertainment destination. SundanceTV is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.; its sister networks include AMC, IFC, BBC America and WE tv. SundanceTV is available across all platforms, including on-air, online at www.sundancetv.com, on demand and mobile.
AMC+ is the company’s new premium streaming bundle featuring an extensive lineup of popular and critically acclaimed original programming from AMC, BBC America, IFC, and SundanceTV and full access to targeted streaming services Shudder, Sundance Now and IFC Films Unlimited, which feature content such as A Discovery of Witches, Creepshow, Riviera and Boyhood. Currently available to Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple TV channels, Roku Channels, Comcast Xfinity, DirecTV, DISH, Sling TV and YouTube TV customers, AMC+ features a continually refreshed library of commercial-free content, including fan favorites Mad Men, Rectify, Orphan Black, Hell on Wheels, NOS4A2 and series from The Walking Dead Universe, among many others. The service also offers a growing slate of original and exclusive series including Gangs of London, The Salisbury Poisonings, Cold Courage, Spy City, Too Close and forthcoming dramas The North Water and Kin.
ABOUT BUNGALOW MEDIA + ENTERTAINMENT, LLC:
Founded in 2013 by CEO Robert Friedman, Bungalow Media + Entertainment is an Emmy Award-winning integrated entertainment company that develops, produces and distributes content across all media platforms. Bungalow’s recently produced series include the four-part mini-series Surviving Jeffrey Epstein for Lifetime, the five-part mini-series The Preppy Murder for AMC/Sundance, The Panama Papers for EPIX, and Roswell: The First Witness for History. Others include GIVE for NBC, Corvette Heroes for the History Channel, The Real SVU for Lifetime, Landmarks Live in Concert for PBS, 36 Hours with the New York Times for Travel Channel, and scripted dramas APB on Fox, Netflix’s Insatiable, and Amazon’s Modern Love. Bungalow has also produced the feature documentaries The Devil Made Me Do It for Discovery+, Spring Broke on Showtime, We the People: The Market Basket Effect, and the Clive Owen’s feature film, The Confirmation, among others.
LEFT/RIGHT has produced hundreds of hours of television in an extraordinarily eclectic mix of genres ranging from hard-hitting documentaries to side-splitting comedies, covering topics from sex to secret societies to stand-up comedy to science fiction to school segregation. Past and present productions include the groundbreaking political series THE CIRCUS (Showtime), the feature documentary THE NEW YORK TIMES PRESENTS: FRAMING BRITNEY SPEARS (FX+Hulu), five seasons of RIDE WITH NORMAN REEDUS (AMC), and our award-winning TV adaptation of the popular public radio show THIS AMERICAN LIFE (Showtime). Our shows have been nominated for numerous Emmy® Awards and have won multiple awards, including a Peabody® and the Emmy® for Best Nonfiction Series. Left/Right is a Red Arrow Studios company.