Discovery made a surprising announcement today: the nonfiction network has green-lit its first scripted series, Klondike (working title), based on Charlotte Gray's true-life account of the 1896 Gold Rush, Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike.
The miniseries is about six strangers struggling to find their fortunes and evade dangers posed by disease, the harsh climate and other people in the tiny Canadian town of Dawson City, deep in the Yukon. The show runner will be Paul Scheuring, who takes the titles of primary writer and exec producer, with Alien and Prometheus director Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker executive producing as well.
Scott's production company, Scott Free, has been busy with the high-profile nonfiction networks this year. The shingle will produce Gettysburg for History and Killing Lincoln for NatGeo, in addition to several scripted projects for both television and theatrical distribution. Klondike is a co-production among Discovery, eOne and Nomadic Pictures in association with Scott Free.
Production on the miniseries is set to begin in March 2013 on location in Alberta, Canada; the show will be produced with aid from Alberta's film development program, similar to New York's film commission. eOne will distribute internationally.