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Spectrum Originals winding down as parent telco Charter exits originals business

Damian Lewis (left) and Guy Pearce in Spectrum’s A Spy Among Friends

Spectrum Originals, the US-based programming brand involved with scripted series including Joe Pickett and LA’s Finest, is set to wind down as its parent telco Charter Communications pulls out of the original programming business.

The move away from developing and producing scripted shows comes one month after news emerged that Katherine Pope, the head of originals at Spectrum Originals, is departing to join Sony Pictures Television (SPT) Studios as president. Pope is replacing outgoing president Jeff Frost and is due to begin the role next week.

It is understood that the winding-down process will not be immediate and some of the shows commissioned under the Spectrum Originals banner may still be made available via on-demand service Spectrum TV.

These include sci-fi thriller Beacon 23, starring Lena Headey, which was co-commissioned with AMC Networks and renewed for a second season earlier this month.

In-the-works shows that do not end up on Spectrum TV will either be shopped to other US operators or the rights will revert back to the producers.

Other shows commissioned under Spectrum Originals include Cold War thriller A Spy Among Friends, starring Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce. The six-part series, based on the non-fiction book by British author Ben Macintyre, was co-commissioned alongside BritBox UK and was initially slated to premiere later this year.

More recently, Spectrum Originals commissioned Panhandle, an eight-episode comedy-drama created and written by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Carla Kettner (The Blacklist). Produced by SPT Studios, the project was originally slated to premiere on Spectrum TV in a nine-month exclusive window, before moving to an exclusive ad-supported second window on The Roku Channel as a Roku original.

Charter Communications has yet to confirm how the winding down of Spectrum Originals will affect the release of these series.

Missouri-headquartered Charter entered the originals business in 2018 with LA’s Finest, a spin-off of the Bad Boys franchise, starring Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union. Its other originals include psychological thriller Angela Black, drama thriller Long Slow Exhale and a reboot of the US sitcom Mad About You.


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