BYUtv's First Scripted Series Granite Flats Fills Primetime Family Television Void

Eight-episode Cold War suspense drama rounds out network's "see the good in the world" programming with nostalgic science fiction that families can watch together

Mar 11, 2013, 07:00 ET from BYUtv

PROVO, Utah, March 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- BYUtv today announced that its first scripted series, Granite Flats, would fill the decade-long family friendly programming void when the original weekly show premieres on April 7, 2013. Set in 1962 Mountain West America at the height of the Cold War, the hour-long series introduces a new genre to the groundbreaking network's diverse roster of original "see the good in the world" programming. The show – a suspenseful period drama with a twist of science fiction – reflects the network's bold efforts to provide an underserved national audience with intelligent, inspiring content that stands out for its thoughtful examination of life's complexities. Granite Flats is available in High Definition and is carried to more than 51 million homes on Dish Network, DirecTV and over 800 cable systems in every state of the country via cable and satellite. All content is additionally available via Internet streaming at

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"Ever since CBS aired the final episode of Touched by an Angel in 2003, there has been a large empty space where primetime family-oriented television used to be," said Derek Marquis, executive producer of Granite Flats and Managing Director of BYUtv. "Our extensive market research, done all over the country, indicates that there's a significant audience hungry for a dramatic series that families can watch together without concern about inappropriate subject matter. Granite Flats is targeted at that neglected demographic, although viewers outside the family market will enjoy it, too."

Granite Flats was produced, written and created by a team of top Hollywood and New York talent who have made some of the television and film industry's most successful and long-running family-oriented entertainment offerings. With the crew's vast collective knowledge of historical recreation and a specific familiarity with the look and feel of the period, the highly stylized show lets viewers travel back in time to Granite Flats, Colorado, 1962.

"We've focused on every tiny detail of the set and performance to keep it all true to the era, from wardrobe and accessories to colloquial language and ambient sounds," said executive producer and director Scott Swofford.

Filmed entirely in Utah, in a variety of 1960s-era locations and at a Salt Lake City soundstage (the very same one used for Touched by an Angel) Granite Flats, is an evocative portrayal of characters in small town U.S.A. during a time that was simultaneously unsettled and innocent. Based on actual little-known covert U.S. military operations, which delve firmly into the realm of science fiction, the story echoes the tensions and fears that were uniquely a part of that moment in our nation's history.

Granite Flats tells the story of a recently widowed single mom, Beth Milligan, and her 10 year old son Arthur, who move from California to the rural town of Granite Flats, Colorado to start a new life after the untimely and mysterious death of their Air Force pilot husband and father. From the moment of their arrival at the military base where Beth will be employed as a hospital nurse and Arthur will get a post-tragedy restart on life, the wholesome community is quickly revealed to be much more complex than at first glance. Standing alone outside on his first night in Granite Flats, Arthur is the sole witness to a fiery object hurdling across the sky, landing in the nearby hills. Is it a comet, like the budding young scientist believes, or something far more complicated? The spiraling consequences of what Arthur sees and the subsequent explosion that sets the stage for the plot to unfold propels Granite Flats into motion. Under the town's wholesome surface, a sinister element is brewing that will challenge the faith and humanity of the show's quirky characters, threaten to shatter any residual innocence left from the past decade and reveal the ubiquitous fear of nuclear attack which defined that era.

"The show will appeal to an audience that wants to be absorbed into a well crafted television series with exquisite period art direction, tight plot twists, scene intrigue, mystery and romance," said Swofford. "As the show progresses, it tells a rich and complex story based on little-known documented events from an ethically disputable chapter in United States military history. Because Granite Flats is serialized and not just episodic, the plot grabs a hold of viewers' imaginations and carries them through the season."

Swofford – a television production veteran best known for his work on more than 30 IMAX movies filmed in 50 countries (including Mysteries of Egypt which grossed $80,000,000 worldwide and Amazon, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1996) assembled a venerable team of historical recreation experts, seasoned writers and recognizable Hollywood actors. The team will continue to grow, bringing in new directors.

The Granite Flats crew and cast have credits in a wide range of Hollywood movie and television hits, including:

Jonathan Morgan Heit (Granite Flats' young protagonist, Arthur Milligan) is the voice of character "Kip Supernova" in Rainmaker Entertainment's newly released 3D computer animated feature film Escape from Planet Earth and is also the voice of Cubby on Disney's animated TV series, Jake and the Never Land Pirates. He also starred in Date Night, Valentine's Day and Bedtime Stories and his television credits include Monk, How I Met Your Mother, ER, General Hospital and Close to Home. He has lent his voice to 18 Family Guy episodes.

Annie Tedesco (Granite Flats' lead, Beth Milligan) is a member of the legendary LA-based improvisational comedy troupe the Groundlings, and has become one of the voices for the CW Network. She has appeared on network TV shows such as Modern Family, Dexter, Harry's Law, Criminal Minds, Suspect Behavior, Man Up, The Mentalist, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

Richard Gunn (Granite Flats' Chief of Police John Sanders) was a series regular on James Cameron's TV hit Dark Angel playing the role of Sketchy, and recently starred opposite James Caan and Paul Sorvino in Lionsgate's critically acclaimed feature film For the Love of Money.

David Naughton (Granite Flats' Dr. Whittison) is best known for his starring role in the Academy Award-winning feature film An American Werewolf in London, as well as for his role as the lead in Dr. Pepper's "Be A Pepper" ad campaign, which made television history.

Charlie Plummer (Granite Flats' young sleuth Timmy Sanders) has a recurring role on HBO's Boardwalk Empire.

Reed Smoot, ASC (Cinematographer) Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; Justin Beiber: Never Say Never, Walt Disney Pictures classic Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and Academy Award- winning Documentary Feature The Great American Cowboy.

Christopher DeMuri (Art Director) Touched by an Angel, 2011 Academy Award-winning FOX Searchlight feature 127 Hours.

Michael Sonnenschein (Writer) 90210.

Post production work for Granite Flats is spread all over the United States, with sound being mixed at Warner Brothers Hollywood, editing done in New York by Memo Salazar, computer-generated imagery mostly done in Utah, while casting is based in New York and Los Angeles, with actors from the east to the west coast.

About BYUtv
Owned by Brigham Young University and based in Provo, Utah, BYUtv is a groundbreaking High Definition television network, which has actively and strategically built its roster of original "see the good in the world" programming to fill a void in the primetime market. Amidst the proliferation of TV programming, the network's offerings stand out for their thoughtful examination of redeeming elements in our fast-paced, multifaceted world. The topics are varied, hard-hitting and nuanced. Whether through its unrivaled live college sports coverage, documentary and feature films, scripted and improvisational comedy, scripted dramas or unscripted reality programs, BYUtv is filling a void as a vital presence in the contemporary television landscape. Currently, BYUtv is available in High Definition and is carried to more than 51 million homes on Dish Network, DirecTV and over 800 cable systems in every state of the country via cable and satellite. All content is additionally available via Internet streaming at The non-commercial station's reach is unprecedented at any university in the world, and offers approximately 1,000 hours of original programming annually (500 hours of sports and 500 hours of content).

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CONTACT: Erika Bleiberg, 973-722-5917,