|By PR Newswire||
|October 4, 2010 04:43 PM EDT||
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Newly formed Los Angeles-based Flashbang Productions has reached an agreement to develop and produce an unprecedented, scripted one-hour series--and potential spin offs depicting the investigations and exploits of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Title of the series is "ATF."
In related news, production company MPH Entertainment ("Dog Whisperer") is partnering with Flashbang to develop and produce "K9 Task Force: Dogs of the ATF," a reality hour-long series about the heroic role the ATF's highly trained canine force plays in the detection of explosives, weapons and accelerants used in acts of violence domestically and abroad, including war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
ATF, the US's smallest but most elite law enforcement agency is the federal government's frontline defenders against the worst of the worst criminals related to violent crimes involving explosives, arson and illegal firearms. The Bureau -- which employs agents in 25 field divisions and of which little is publicly known -- investigates and prevents unlawful use, manufacturing and possession of firearms and explosives, as well as arsons, bombings, and the illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco. Its purview also includes international investigations, particularly in relation to its efforts in the areas of illegal tobacco and gun trafficking.
Negotiations leading to this agreement have been ongoing for almost two years between Flashbang and the ATF in Washington D.C. The agreement for the scripted series, which includes the potential for spin-offs and merchandising was established in January 2010. ATF had never previously entered into a scripted television agreement with any other production company.
The scripted one-hour project is a continuing storyline, developed as a multi-year series, in the vein of "24" or "The Wire." One major ATF case--which routinely requires a year or more of investigations and pursuit--is being developed for year one, the pilot script for which is completed. The series will follow an ATF undercover task force featuring several individual agents in pursuit of a criminal force comprised of key perpetrators in St Louis, Missouri and involves national and international investigative forces.
"K9 Task Force: Dogs of the ATF" will feature ATF-trained canines and their agent 'partners/handlers' in service of various compelling missions domestically and internationally. The ATF has trained a force of 1,000 dogs internationally, and raises and trains dogs used by its own agency, as well as for the State Department, the FBI, and the US Marshals. Dogs have proven invaluable over the years for ATF investigations, and in fact in the famed DC Sniper case an ATF canine discovered previously unfound bullet casings linked to the sniper's weapon resulting in the arrest and conviction of the shooters. Most recently ATF trained canines were used at the Discovery Channel incident in Silver Springs, Maryland during the dramatic standoff with an active shooter.
The collective producers are in discussions with respective cable broadcasters for each series. Both are being readied for possible Fall of 2011 premieres. In the case of the scripted series, the producers have chosen to approach cable broadcasters as the material is intense, and the portrayals of crimes and criminals on occasion very graphic.
States Shannon Murphy, Flashbang partner and developer of the scripted series: "After years of research and interviews we found the ATF to be fascinating, compelling and yet for what little is known to the public, very misunderstood. We didn't want to compromise the integrity of the ATF's immensely difficult tasks, nor gloss over the dangers and heroics of its agents by limiting ourselves to network standards and practices concerns. As the ATF entrusted us with creative control in the scripted series, the stories will be based on real events of the ATF, compelling, raw, but truthful and mind-boggling. In addition, this is intended as, we assure you, an inside depiction of the ATF, and of course the criminal element they pursue, so it was to everyone's ultimate satisfaction to work without a net."
States MPH partner Jim Milio as regards "K9 Task Force: Dogs of the ATF": "So little is known about the heroics of these special animals. They are raised and trained at an ATF facility in Front Royal, Virginia and are ultimately deployed worldwide. These dogs and their handlers are on the front lines protecting us every single day. Their amazing, dramatic stories that could be told for years."
Flashbang is a partnership of writer/producer Shannon Murphy, director Michael Lange, and producer Nellie Nugiel, Murphy's personal history makes her particularly well suited for this project, as she hails from a family long involved in US intelligence communities. Her uncle, James Murphy, was the Assistant Director of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover; her father Thomas J. Murphy, is a retired Navy Lt. Commander and mine specialist; another uncle was a high ranking Military counterintelligence agent, and many other relatives remain in the service of these and other institutions. Murphy was also recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington DC that will be groundbreaking on October 14, 2010.
MPH Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based film and television production company, is a partnership of writer/producer/directors Jim Milio and Melissa Jo Peltier and producer/director Mark Hufnail. MPH created, developed and produces the long running hit series "Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan National Geographic Channel's top-rated original series for the past six years. The Company has been nominated for numerous Emmys and WGA awards, and has produced more than 400 hours of original programming for the primary cable networks.
As part of their agreement with ATF, Flashbang and/or Flashbang/MPH is also free to pursue merchandising and publishing opportunities with respect to ATF.
WME represents Flashbang in the ATF scripted series and motion picture, Venture IAB in the reality and licensing of the K-9. CAA represents MPH.
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