As the country's enthusiasm for Netflix's Making a Murderer continues to grow, Investigation Discovery is jumping on the bandwagon, fast-tracking a special on Steven Avery, the man whose case is the focus of the riveting true-crime series.
"As the country's most experienced true-crime network, we feel compelled to address what we believe are missing from the case as presented in Netflix's current documentary series, Making a Murderer," Henry Schlieff, group president for Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel and Destination America, said at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour.
Investigation Discovery has partnered with Peacock Productions (a division of NBC News) to produce a special, Front Page: The Steven Avery Story, which started production this week and will air later in January. Hosted by Dateline NBC correspondent Keith Morrison, the program is "an attempt to provide critical, crucial evidence and testimonies that answer many of the questions surrounding Steven Avery," said Schlieff.
Making a Murderer, which Netflix released Dec. 18, has left the country buzzing about Avery, who along with his nephew, was convicted of murdering photographer Teresa Halbach. Avery had previously served 18 years in prison for rape when he was released in 2003 after DNA evidence exonerated him. He was arrested and convicted of Halbach's murder two years later, after he had filed a civil suit over his false conviction.
More than 360,000 people have signed online petitions calling for Avery's pardon as a result of Making a Murderer, which raises serious questions about the case against Avery.
A year ago, Investigation Discovery quickly developed its own true-crime podcast to take advantage of the frenzy around the first season of Serial.
But ID isn't the only Discovery network looking to get in on the true-crime craze sparked by Making a Murderer, Serial and HBO's The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.
On Tuesday, Discovery launched its first true-crime series, Killing Fields, which the network said is shot in "real time" as an investigation unfolds. Executive produced by Barry Levinson, the show follows a cold case from June 1997 in Iberville Parish, La., where a Louisiana State University graduate student, Eugenie Boisfontaine, disappeared. Her body was discovered two months later.
Detective Rodie Sanchez, who was assigned to the case in 1997, has come out of retirement and reopened the case. In Killing Fields, he is paired with a younger detective, Aubrey St. Angelo, as they reinvestigate the murder.