USA Network has officially announced that it is picking up the Jason Bourne TV spinoff Treadstone to series. The show is being written and executive produced by Tim Kring, with Ramin Bahrani (director of HBO's Fahrenheit 451) lined up to call the shots on the pilot episode.
While Matt Damon is now the actor that most people immediately associate with the Jason Bourne character, the amnesiac super-agent turned antihero was originally played by Richard Chamberlain in a made-for-TV adaptation of Robert Ludlum's 1980 novel The Bourne Identity, some fourteen years before Damon played the role in Doug Liman's 2002 Bourne Identity film. Damon has since reprised his version as Bourne for three additional movies and has yet to completely rule out the possibly of him appearing in Jason Bourne 6 at some point. In the meantime, the multimedia Bourne property will continue to expand in other ways.
Variety is confirming that USA has put in a series order for Treadstone, after having previously acquired the show's pilot only. The series will revolve around the eponymous (and fictional) CIA black ops program Operation Treadstone - aka. the top-secret project that "created" Bourne - and follow several Treadstone sleeper agents based around the world, as they are mysteriously "awakened" and set back into action. NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment president Chris McCumber has issued the following statement, regarding the news:
“As the #1 cable entertainment network for the past 12 years, USA Network is delivering a dynamic lineup of big, bold programming - and what could be bigger and bolder than the Treadstone mythology?"
Kring has a long and noteworthy track record, when it comes to developing successful genre TV series. In particular, the premise for Treadstone begs comparison to Kring's hit superhero TV show Heroes, i.e. another series about people with extraordinary abilities from around the planet discovering what they're really capable of. Of course, he's also far from a stranger to comparatively realistic genre material and his Bourne TV spinoff might hew closer to Kring's previous crime drama-thrillers like Crossing Jordan than Heroes, in that respect.
It will be interesting to see how much success (or lack thereof) the Bourne IP has in expanding its reach to the small screen... again. The Bourne movie franchise previously attempted to branch out with 2012's Jeremy Renner-led spinoff The Bourne Legacy, but that film earned an overall lukewarm reception (critically and commercially) and is unlikely to receive a direct continuation at this stage. TV, obviously, is a whole other ball game and both Kring and USA has managed to develop long-running hits based around similar high-concepts in the past (see Burn Notice, Mr. Robot, and so on), so that certainly bodes well for Treadstone.
Treadstone is slated to start production in 2019. It does not have an official premiere date at this time.