FOX Orders “Rescue: Hi-Surf,” New Franchise From Legendary Producer John Wells and Writer Matt Kester, Set to Debut in 2023-2024 Season
Set in Hawaii, Lifeguard Drama Comes from John Wells Productions, Warner Bros. Television and FOX Entertainment
FOX green lights the pulse-pounding Hawaii lifeguard drama Rescue: HI-Surf. The new John Wells Productions (JWP) action franchise, to be co-produced by Warner Bros. Television and FOX Entertainment, will premiere on FOX in 2023–2024.
From prolific, award-winning executive producer John Wells (Shameless, The West Wing, ER) and executive producer/writer Matt Kester (Animal Kingdom, Outsiders), Rescue: HI-Surf, is an action-packed drama that follows the personal and professional lives of the heavy-water lifeguards who patrol and protect the North Shore of O’ahu—the most famous and dangerous stretch of coastline in the world. Each episode will feature these dedicated, heroic, and adrenaline-seeking first-responders saving lives in the difficult and often life-threatening conditions of Hawaii’s Seven Mile Miracle. Kester will write the first episode, and Wells will direct the first two episodes.
“Rescue: HI-Surf brings an edge-of-your-seat style to the North Shore of Hawaii, where lifeguards and surfers collide with visceral rescues, great character drama and all-around fun,” said Michael Thorn, President of Scripted Programming, FOX Entertainment. “This new franchise is pure beachfront property for FOX, especially with the powerful auspices of John, Matt and our incredible partners at Warner Bros.”
“Matt and I couldn’t be happier to partner with FOX on this exciting opportunity to bring the best lifeguards in the world to the attention of television audiences,” said Wells.
“I’ve lived on the North Shore of O‘ahu for most of my life, and these are our heroes, the most extraordinary extreme athletes anywhere,” said Kester.
“Warner Bros. Television has been riding a creative wave with John Wells for many years, and Rescue: HI-Surf is another thrilling project that will capture the hearts and minds of audiences everywhere,” said Channing Dungey, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros. Television Group. “We’re excited to partner with John, Matt Kester and FOX to tell the stories of heavy-water lifeguards in a way that has not been seen before. I can’t wait for everyone to experience this thrilling new franchise.”
Rescue: HI-Surf will be co-produced by Warner Bros. Television and FOX Entertainment. Matt Kester serves as showrunner and executive producer. John Wells will executive produce through John Wells Productions, and JWP’s Erin Jontow also serves as an executive producer.
FOX’s pick-up of Rescue: HI-Surf follows last week’s order of the all-new game show Snake Oil, hosted and produced by Emmy and Golden Globe Award-nominated comedian David Spade (SNL, Just Shoot Me) and executive-produced by Emmy nominee Will Arnett (LEGO Masters, Arrested Development), and the straight-to-series order of the medical procedural drama Doc, based on the globally acclaimed Italian series, Doc — Nelle tue mani, which will be co-produced by Sony Pictures Television and FOX Entertainment. FOX recently renewed two of the network’s hit dramas, Accused and Alert: Missing Persons Unit, both of which are co-productions of Sony Pictures Television and FOX Entertainment. The hit drama The Cleaning Lady, a Warner Bros. Television and FOX Entertainment co-production, was recently renewed for a third season. FOX-owned animated series Krapopolis from Dan Harmon (Rick and Morty, Community) and Grimsburg with Jon Hamm (Mad Men, Top Gun: Maverick) will also debut next season. Additional new and returning series will be announced soon.
About John Wells Productions
John Wells Productions (JWP) is the production company of writer, producer, and director John Wells. Most recently, Wells executive produced and directed the Emmy-nominated Maid for Netflix; Showtime’s Emmy-nominated Shameless; and the TNT drama series Animal Kingdom. Past television projects include NBC’s hit series ER, The West Wing and Third Watch; the critically acclaimed Southland for TNT; the Emmy- and Golden Globe–winning Mildred Pierce for HBO; and the Emmy- and Golden Globe–nominated China Beach.
In addition to Rescue: HI-Surf, JWP’s current slate of television projects includes the upcoming series Emperor of Ocean Park, a new drama for MGM+ with Sherman Payne writing and Damian Marcano directing, based on Stephen L. Carter’s best-selling novel; The Accident, with Wells writing and directing; the psychological thriller series Doll, with renowned theatre and opera director Ivo van Hove; and an adaptation of the critically acclaimed suspense thriller Notes on an Execution, by Danya Kukafka, with Kate Fodor writing.
The company currently has an overall deal with Warner Bros. Television.
Films produced by Wells include The Company Men, which was his feature directorial debut; Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven and I’m Not There; Mark Romanek’s One Hour Photo; Todd Graff’s Camp; Fenton Bailey’s Party Monster; Robert Altman’s The Company; John Waters’ A Dirty Shame; Mary Harron’s The Notorious Bettie Page; Phyllis Nagy’s Mrs. Harris; Tom Kalin’s Savage Grace; Douglas McGrath’s Infamous; Jordan Scott’s Cracks; Andrew Neel’s Goat; Burnt, which he also directed; Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy; Carroll Ballard’s Duma; Peter Kominsky’s White Oleander; Neil Jordan’s The Good Thief; Andrzej Bartkowiak’s Doom; Tony Giglio’s Doom: Annihilation; Michael Mayer’s A Home at the End of the World; and Oscar-nominated August: Osage County, which Wells also directed, based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name.
About Warner Bros. Television
One of the entertainment industry’s most-respected providers of original programming since its founding in 1955, Warner Bros. Television delivers scripted dramas, comedies, limited series, and original movies for multiple platforms. As of April 2023, WBTV is producing more than 50 scripted series for Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO Max, external streaming platforms, cable, and the five U.S. broadcast networks.
About FOX Entertainment
With a legacy spanning more than 35 years, FOX Entertainment is one of the world’s most recognizable media brands and a prolific content producer across its iconic broadcast network and both owned and third-party streaming platforms. Known for its independent, innovative spirit and provocative, groundbreaking storytelling, the company was reinvented in 2019 with the formation of FOX Entertainment. While maintaining its leadership in broadcast television (9-1-1, The Simpsons, The Cleaning Lady, Hell’s Kitchen, LEGO Masters), the company is actively building a portfolio of businesses and library of owned original content. To date, FOX Entertainment’s long-term growth strategy has included the acquisitions of award-winning animation studio Bento Box Entertainment (Bob’s Burgers, The Great North, Krapopolis, Grimsburg), entertainment platform TMZ, and global production studio MarVista Entertainment (The Way Home), as well as the formation of the culinary and lifestyle content venture Studio Ramsay Global (Next Level Chef, Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars) in partnership with the legendary Gordon Ramsay. The company also established its in-house unscripted studio FOX Alternative Entertainment (The Masked Singer, I Can See Your Voice, Name That Tune), FOX Entertainment Studios (Animal Control) to develop scripted content and the worldwide content sales unit FOX Entertainment Global.
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