NBC Orders ‘True Detective’ Copycat

True Detective
source: HBO

With the wild critical and popular success of HBO’s True Detective this year, other networks are looking to jump on the dark crime anthology bandwagon. NBC has just picked up a ten-episode anthology series called Manhunt from Anonymous Content, the company behind True Detective, according to a report from Deadline. Manhunt is created by Zac Rice and Whit Brayton, an Uber driver and a valet respectively who have written one of the most-wanted new series of the year.

The show has a ten-episode order with the network that’s contingent on script and casting approval, with Rice and Brayton expected to write all the episodes. Like True Detective, Manhunt involves two male leads. Deadline said that when the project was being shopped around earlier this summer, there were actors attached should it have been landed by a cable network. Sources who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter said that Dustin Hoffman and Casey Affleck were the actors attached to the project if it had been picked up on cable. But NBC pursued the series aggressively and now Rice and Brayton will have to find new actors.

The dark crime drama will focus on the hunt for a violent fugitive roaming the streets of a city. Each season will move to a different city in the U.S. or abroad and will have a post-apocalyptic feel to it as the cities become “a police state, a war zone or a ground zero and the ensuing bloodlust it inspires,” Deadline said.

True Detective is also a very dark show focusing on crime and the first season had two male leads. Obviously a premium network like HBO can get away with much more explicit content than a channel like NBC, so it’ll be interesting to see how Rice and Brayton can create all that doom and gloom while operating within the rules of network TV.

This isn’t the only show NBC has coming out soon that sounds very True Detective-esque. The new David Duchovny vehicle Aquarius is not an anthology series, but it involves two detective partners investigating a grisly case that concerned the darker side of humanity and the victimization of women in particular, just like True Detective. Aquarius looks at the events leading up to the 1971 Tate-LaBianca murders performed by members of Charles Manson’s cult through the eyes of two police officers investigating the disappearance of a missing girl who the detectives find has been sucked into Manson’s cult.

Anthology television shows are continuing to grow in popularity as networks look to land movie-star casts, who are more willing to sign on to a show for just a season rather than making long commitments. Manhunt will join FX’s Fargo and American Horror Story as well as True Detective as popular anthology shows that have brought big stars to TV. Casting rumors for the second season of True Detective have already been at a fever pitch for months and will likely only increase as filming gets closer.

Now industry watchers can speculate about who might be up for the male leads in Manhunt as well. If Rice and Brayton can’t find a satisfactory cast then NBC does have the option to turn the show down, but given the bidding war that went down over the series plus all the attention the current ‘golden age’ of television has been getting, it’s doubtful the writers won’t be able to attract some top-notch talent.

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