HBO offshoot, Cinemax, is finally getting its feet wet in the scripted drama arena with Strike Back, the premium channel’s first foray into original programming that isn’t strictly adults only.
The series is based on the UK program of the same name, which itself is based on the book Strike Back by former Special Forces officer Chris Ryan. The original UK version aired in 2009 as a six-part mini-series staring Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) and Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead) in a story of a former soldier who is called back into action to assist with a Middle East hostage situation just before the Iraq invasion of 2003.
Cinemax plans to take the premise of the original 2009 Strike Back, and expand it into a more globetrotting, action adventure series that will suit the palates of audiences in both the United States and the United Kingdom. To do this, the network has enlisted the help of writers Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) and Richard Zadjlic (EastEnders) to craft new plotlines for the new characters played by Phillip Winchester (Fringe) and Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom). Stapleton will be the U.S. Special Forces officer partnered with a British Military unit led by Winchester in an effort to stop an international terrorist group. Filming on the 10 episode series will take place in South Africa and Hungary from February to June 2011, while the finished product should ready to air sometime this summer.
Other premium channels like HBO and Showtime have leveraged themselves into powerhouse networks with their lineup of original programming, so why wouldn’t Cinemax follow suit? If the network is looking to shed the soft-core persona it has developed over the years, then picking a strong, action-oriented program with a built-in following, as an initial venture into original series development is a wise choice. One thing guaranteed to steer a guy’s attention away from nudity would certainly be stuff getting blown up real good.
The concept and production model of the show is apparently one Cinemax is eager to duplicate. The network is looking for similar “high-octane” shows that would fit well into the lineup being built around Strike Back. British Sky broadcasting, the co-producer of Strike Back along with Cinemax and Left Bank Pictures, is also the exclusive home for HBO’s content in the UK, so if the show is a hit, we can expect Cinemax, in conjunction with Sky, to be a top destination for action oriented fare on cable television’s premium channels.
While there is currently no firm date set for Strike Back, check in with us and we’ll update you when it gets ready to air.
Source: Entertainment Weekly