ID and Discovery+ unveiled a partnership and development deal on Thursday (June 9) with Orit Entertainment, the production company founded by Oscar-winning actress and producer Octavia Spencer, as well as producer October Films.
The deal will see Orit and October develop and produce a variety of projects for ID and Discovery+, with Spencer set to executive produce. Production is underway on the deal’s first two projects, with more titles in development.
The first project announced under the deal is Highway 20 (w/t, 3 x 60 min.), which covers a decades-long true-crime story set along a stretch of Oregon’s U.S. Highway 20, where many women and girls have gone missing or been raped or murdered between the 1970s and 1990s. The series is inspired by the work of journalist Noelle Crombie, videographer Dave Killen and photojournalist Beth Nakamura of The Oregonian.
Arianna Lapenne is set to direct the series, while Orit Entertainment’s Brian Clisham and Stephane Kluft will executive produce along with Spencer, October Films’ Gillian Pachter and Matt Robins, Advance Originals’ Marsha Oglesby, Circle of Confusion’s Susan Solomon and ID’s Lorna Thomas.
“We’re delighted to bring a blossoming creative partnership to such a fantastic platform. Octavia and Orit’s passion for telling true-crime stories in a fresh and illuminating way was abundantly clear from our very first conversation,” said October Films creative director Matt Robins.
“The Warner Bros. Discovery group has encouraged and enabled us to think big as we build a blockbuster slate of premium documentary series. To begin that journey with the remarkable Highway 20 is a rare and meaningful opportunity.”
Jason Sarlanis, president of crime and investigative content, linear and streaming, at Discovery Inc. added: “Octavia is a creative force who brings a level of unparalleled curiosity and honesty to every story she tells. Upon learning that she and her amazing team at Orit share a deep passion for crime and investigative content, and had joined forces with our trusted partners at October, we knew this was a relationship we wanted to invest heavily in.
“This unique collaboration brings together one of the best production entities in the business, a superstar talent who also happens to be a super-fan with Octavia and Orit, and the biggest brand dedicated to the true-crime genre,” Sarlanis continued. “Highway 20 is an incredible event series and exemplifies the powerful stories we look forward to telling through this amazing partnership.”