SundanceTV has announced the addition of a new true crime franchise, providing details on the first two series that will fall under the newly created “True Crime Story” banner. New York Times bestselling author Hilary Burton Morgan (The Rural Diaries) is set to host It Couldn’t Happen Here and Jena Friedman (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) hosts Indefensible.
“Some of the most memorable programs on SundanceTV in recent years have focused on true crime stories, as we’ve built the category into an important part of the network’s brand,” stated Blake Callaway, general manager of SundanceTV, IFC and BBC America. “Working with Hilarie Burton Morgan and Jena Friedman to bring their talents and points of view to this new franchise is an exciting next step. We can’t wait to share these two new series that will offer a unique take on the genre this fall.”
It Couldn’t Happen Here will premiere on September 9, 2021 on SundanceTV and AMC+. Indefensible debuts on October 14th.
“Advocating for small towns has been the primary focus of my adult life, whether it’s fighting for mom and pop shops, or public schools or facilities like Astor Services,” said Burton Morgan. “I believe deeply in the value of these small communities. Last year, my husband and I were able to team with the AMC family to shed light on a number of the struggles our community was facing during Covid, as we had local friends and neighbors from the Hudson Valley on as guests for our show Friday Night In with the Morgans. Continuing my relationship with the AMC family at SundanceTV and digging deeper into the issues that are specific to small towns is a mission that I’m honored to be part of.”
Jena Friedman added, “Many Americans don’t think about our criminal justice system until they’re in it. I hope this show gives viewers insight into some of the ways in which the system is flawed, so at the very least, they’ll be a little more prepared in the event they ever end up on a jury.”
SundanceTV released the follow descriptions of the new series:
“In six, one-hour episodes, It Couldn’t Happen Here will put a spotlight on fascinating small-town American crime stories that demonstrate how crime impacts these tight-knit communities in unique and surprising ways. In six, 30-minute episodes, Indefensible looks into cases where the outcome is shaped by more than what initially meets the eye, and in the process brings something new and entirely unexpected to the genre.
In It Couldn’t Happen Here, life-long small-town community member and advocate Hilarie Burton Morgan visits different small towns in an effort to shine a much-needed light on the unique ways in which crime impacts rural communities and their judicial systems. Too often the heartbreaking events in these towns are largely overlooked because they lack the national media platforms and advocacy resources found in larger cities. In each episode, Hilarie hears the facts of the case from family members and local insiders in an attempt to understand the challenges the community faced investigating the crime, learn the lasting impact the crime has had on the fabric of the town, and ultimately call attention to where justice currently stands. Hilarie embraces these communities, where many know not just the victims, but the perpetrators and those who enable them.
In Indefensible, Jena Friedman travels the country to unspool real cases on the ground, but unlike most true crime shows, this one doesn’t end when the criminal gets locked up. Jena finds there’s always more to the story and drives to a different outcome beyond the simple whodunnit. Using her unflinching comedic point of view and disarming interview skills, Jena uncovers the ‘why’ and ‘how’ not only of crimes themselves, but of our sometimes dysfunctional criminal justice system.”