Spike TV is mostly known for its original reality programming, including American Digger and Bar Rescue, but the network has been wanting to dig into original scripted programming for a while. On Monday, Spike announced it will be delving into ancient history with a limited event series following none other than Pharaoh Tutankhamun, otherwise known as the late, great King Tut.
Most people with an average level of historical knowledge are aware of King Tut thanks to an accident in the early 1920s that led famed researcher Howard Carter to later dig up artifacts related to the ancient ruler. Spike’s TV series will be called Tut and will go much further back into history than the 20th century event, however. According to a press release from the network, it will tell the story of the pharaoh, who was the youngest man to ever rule Egypt before dying at the tender age of 19. Here’s the official synopsis from the cable network:
“This ambitious special-event series tells the story of Tut’s rise to power and his struggle to lead Egypt to glory, while his closest advisors, friends and lovers scheme for their own nefarious interests. Tut opens up a fascinating window into a world filled with heart-breaking romance, epic battles, political backstabbing, conspiracy, jealousy, and even murder — proving his world was not far removed from our own — and that his reign as the youngest Egyptian king played out as a real-life drama for the ages.”
It’s quite difficult to jump back into scripted programming—especially since Spike TV has had an eight-year break from that sort of creative enterprise—but the network seems to be making a pretty smart play with Tut. Instead of going through a lengthy pilot process, Spike has picked up Tut straight to series, with the premiere of the Ancient Egyptian drama set to hit the schedule in 2015. Additionally, instead of greenlighting a program with multiple seasons, Spike is billing Tut as a “limited event series,” which will feature six hours of content. Since the network is experimenting with what will or won’t work, this seems like the best way to dig in and begin to build a brand new lineup.
That 2015 premiere date means we are still a long way off from reaping the benefits of Spike TV’s latest endeavors. The show won’t even go into production until this fall, but those who get cast in Tut should have a pretty good time filming the series. Shooting will occur in Canada but also in the more exotic Morocco this fall. Joel S. Rie and Michael Prupas are producing the series, and Greg Gugliotta, Michael Vickerman, Jeremy Elice, Angela Mancuso, and Sharon Levy are executive producing the project. Michael Vickerman, Peter Paige, Bradley Bredeweg will be writing Tut.
If you can’t wait for Tut, Dreamworks animation also recently put together a character based on the lively and youthful pharaoh as part of the company’s animated hit Mr. Peabody and Sherman.