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Discovery Channel is headed down the scripted path for the first time in its history with Klondike, a mini-series about the Gold Rush based on a book by Canadian author Charlotte Gray. The success of gold hunting reality series Gold Rush seems to be giving them confidence that a scripted look at the original Klondike Gold Rush in 1895 will bring in the viewers as well.
Gray’s book, Gold Diggers: Striking it Rich in the Klondike serves as the inspiration for the mini that will follow the tale of the gold miners who seek out their fortune in the wild and unpredictable frontier of the Klondike, the site of the last real gold rush. The series will focus on two childhood friend, Bill and Epstein, who join the search for gold far in the northern Yukon, where unhappy natives, harsh weather, greedy gold-diggers and the debauchery of a booming gold town are among the challenges they will face.
The mini-series is being written by Paul Scheuring of Prison Break, who will executive produce with Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker of Scott Free Television where the project was developed. Producing partners eOne and Nomadic Pictures, in association with Scott Free, will also have executive producers on board, John Morayniss and Michael Rosenberg for eOne and Mike Frislev and Chad Oakes with Nomadic. eOne and Nomadic currently produce Hell on Wheels together, another series about life on the frontier. Discovery Channel's Eileen O'Neill and Dolores Gavin will also executive produce. Also writing for some of the episodes are consulting producers Josh Goldin and Rachel Abramowitz.
Discovery Channel has been developing on the scripted side, and finally chose Klondike to represent their first foray. The mini-series starts production in Alberta, Canada in March (if you have never been to Alberta - especially northern Alberta - in March, it does in fact resemble the Yukon). It sounds like this one is likely to be just the beginning for Discovery in scripted programming, if all goes well.