Los Angeles, CA (September 8 2015) – PBS and Ideate Media announced today a new collaboration with Emmy-winner Ed Redlich (“The Practice,” “Shark,” “Unforgettable”)and Ridley Scott’s production company Scott Free to bring the acclaimed best-seller The Island at the Center of the World to life on PBS.

The project adds to PBS’ growing portfolio of original dramas in development and is the latest in a series of high-profile projects from Ideate Media.

The Island at the Center of the World is a narrative history of New York City’s origins as the Dutch-founded city of New Amsterdam, on the tip of Manhattan Island.New Amsterdam predated the “original” 13 colonies, but it nonetheless seems strikingly familiar: a cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic enclave whose citizens valued free trade, individual rights and religious freedom.

The Wall Street Journal called The Island at the Center of the World “…a masterpiece of storytelling and first-rate intellectual history.”  

Ideate Media’s Arvind Ethan David optioned the book from Russell Shorto and brought the project to Scott Free. 

 “PBS is thrilled to be working with Ed Redlich, Ideate Media and Scott Free on a production with this caliber of talent,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “This epic book will make equally epic storytelling as a television event.”

The project is currently in development.

Ed Redlich has been executive producer and writer on shows such as “The Practice,” “Felicity,” “Without a Trace,” “Shark”and, most recently, “Unforgettable (moving this season from CBS to A&E),which he developed with John Bellucci. 

“I feel like I was born to adapt Russell’s incredible book.” Redlich said. “Growing up in Greenwich Village in Eleanor Roosevelt’s old apartment, only eight blocks from Peter Stuyvesant’s grave, I’ve been obsessed for years with the history of New York City and it’s central role in the development of this country.”

Along with Redlich, Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker will executive produce for Scott Free; Arvind Ethan David and Zainir Aminullah will executive produce for Ideate Media.

Said author Russell Shorto, “I truly can’t think of a better team to bring the story and history in my book to life on television. PBS, Scott Free, Ed Redlich, Ideate Media: the combination of talent and experience and vision are something I might have dreamed about, but didn’t expect to come into alignment in the real world.”

The Times of London said The Island at the Center of the World was “…a landmark book.” The New York Times described it as “masterly” and “a book that will permanently alter the way we regard our collective past.” Holland’s Algemeen Dagblad called it “a masterwork.” It won the New York City Book Award, the Washington Irving Prize for contribution to New York history and several other prestigious awards. It was a New York Times Notable Book for 2004 and was chosen by the New York Public Library as one of its 25 outstanding books for the year.


About Scott Free:

Scott Free Productions is the film and television production company of acclaimed film director Ridley Scott. In the 20 years since Scott Free was formed, the company has earned more than 70 Emmy nominations, with 20 wins, and 20 Golden Globe nominations for its highly acclaimed television projects, which include the Peabody Award-winning “The Good Wife,” now in its sixth season for CBS, a drama series adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s classic “The Man in the High Castle,” now in production for Amazon, and “Killing Jesus,” the third in the acclaimed “Killing” telefilms (previously “Killing Kennedy” and “Killing Lincoln”) for National Geographic, each of which premiered to record numbers for the channel.

Notable limited series broadcasts are “Klondike” for Discovery, “The Pillars of the Earth” for Starz, “World Without End” for Reelz, “Into the Storm” and “The Gathering Storm” for HBO, “The Andromeda Strain” and “Coma” for A&E and “The Company” at TNT. Non-fiction programs are highlighted by the Emmy-winning documentary special “Gettysburg” for History Channel and “Crimes of the Century” for CNN. Projects currently on the development slate include “Strange Angel” for AMC, “Brain Dead” for CBS and “3001: The Final Odyssey” for Syfy. With offices in Los Angeles and London, Scott Free works closely with RSA Films, one of the world’s largest and most successful commercial production houses in the world.


About PBS

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