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WGN America goes to Manhattan for second original

US station WGN America has ordered its second original drama, a 13-part about the scientists racing to create the first atomic bomb that has The West Wing exec producer Thomas Schlamme attached.

Manhattan is written and created by Sam Shaw (Masters of Sex), who will exec produce alongside David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Marcy Ross and Schlamme, the latter of whom will also direct.

Schlamme’s Shoe Money Productions is attached to the project, along with Skydance Television, Tribune Studios and Lionsgate Television.

The series will be set to the backdrop of the creation of the first atom bomb in New Mexico, following the brilliant but flawed scientists working on the project and their families. Filming begins in New Mexico this winter for a summer 2014 television premiere.

The series is Tribune Broadcasting Company-owned WGN America’s second original scripted series after Salem, which is due to launch in the first quarter of next year.

“Sam and Tommy’s passion for the world of Los Alamos, the Manhattan Project, and the characters who populate it came through from the moment we all sat down to discuss the project, and we couldn’t be more excited to support them as they bring their vision to life,” said Matt Cherniss, president and general manager, WGN America and Tribune Studios.

“We feel Manhattan has all of the elements to make for a provocative and memorable series and are excited to have the support of Skydance and Lionsgate as WGN America continues its rapid expansion toward year-round original programming on the network.”

“The events surrounding the Manhattan Project ushered in a new chapter in world history that still has resonance today, and Sam’s brilliant script has laid the foundation for a truly great series,” added Lionsgate TV president Kevin Beggs.