Likely eyeing the recent success of shows such as Making a Murderer, The Jinx, and American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, CBS has ordered its own true crime anthology series. The as-yet unnamed show will be unscripted, and feature a new case every season, starting with the murder of six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey on the 20th anniversary of her death. The Hollywood Reporter says an episode count has yet to be determined, but that it may have a limited 10-episode run — like Netflix's Making a Murderer — and may hit screens as soon as this fall.
CBS' move comes a day after NBC greenlit its own true crime show, a spin-off from the long-running Law & Order series that will dig into real-life cases, rather than simply using them as inspiration for fictional TV drama. Like CBS' effort — and shows like Serial that helped kickstart the current trend for deep dives into real cases — Law & Order: True Crime will focus on a different case each season, starting with Lyle and Eric Menendez, who were convicted of killing their parents in 1989.
NBC is also making its own true crime Law & Order spinoff
Shows like American Crime Story have become successes not simply because they addressed wider issues than just the murder of real people, but Ramsey's tragic case has a long and complex history that could benefit from careful examination. The apparent confession of elementary school teacher John Mark Karr — later deemed to be false — whipped up a media frenzy around the case that remained even once it was announced he would not be charged. In 2010, the case was reopened, with files previously sealed released to the public a few years later, offering a new perspective on Ramsey's murder.