“Strange Inheritance,” a new half-hour cable series from a redefined Towers Productions that was eight months in production, starts airing Monday, Jan. 26 on Fox Business Network (FBN) at 8 p.m.
Series creator/EP Jonathan Towers describes each episode “as a separate, personal story about a family with an unusual inheritance and as the show concludes, what happens to that inheritance.”
The timing was perfect when he pitched the concept to Fox executive producer Brian Gaffney in the fall of 2013, as FBN was in the market for primetime entertainment shows to lighten its business news-oriented fare. “They picked it up immediately,” he says.
“Strange Inheritance” is the first entertainment show for the business news outlet. Twenty-six episodes were produced, with two new episodes running on Mondays and Tuesdays of each week for 13 weeks, and encores on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Last April, host Jamie Colby, Fox News’ weekend anchor, and the Towers crew of 20, including DP Oral User, supervising field producer Stacey Young and field producer Dan Tyrell, traveled to mostly small towns in 20 states in search of unusual bequests.
Among the families visited was one in the small town of Lincoln, Illinois where a farmer had left his estate to two TV actors whose work he admired but whom he had never met.
Six editors, all veterans from previous Towers productions, started editing the series last May in the company’s Evanston finishing offices and wrapped in mid-January.
“Our creative focus as a company is on real people and their life stories. The buyers are now looking for this kind of authentic programming and ‘Strange Inheritance’ is a perfect example of that,” says Towers, whose award-winning company is known for “Storm Stories,” the Weather Channel, “Gangland,” History and “American Justice,” A&E.
In June, 2013, Towers and his business partner, Peter Walker, dramatically changed the company’s business model in response to cable programming’s seismic shift to reality shows. “Reality is where the business is,” he said at the time.
Towers cut its staff, second only in size to Harpo Studios, to a small core and closed its longtime, 15,000 sq. ft. West Loop office.
Towers Productions is headquartered at Northfield Plaza in Northfield, with postproduction facilities at 1603 Orrington Ave., Evanston.
Towers Productions credits: Producers: Stacy Robinson, Bob Schneiger, BJ Acaley, Tracy Ullman. Production manager: Sarada Duvvuri.
Editors: Michael O’Brien, Brad Phelan, Andy Schwarcz, Joe Winston, Evan Spence and Christopher Staudt. Postproduction supervisor: Charlie Langrall.