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Discovery plans new 'North and South' miniseries

Discovery plans new 'North and South' miniseries
James Read, left, and Patrick Swayze starred in the original miniseries adaptation of 'North and South' in 1985. (ABC)

Discovery has announced the development of a new miniseries adaptation of John Jakes' trilogy of "North and South" novels set during run-up to the Civil War.

According to Discovery, the miniseries will tell the tale of two families, the Hazards, from the North, and the Mains, from the South, chronicling how the two families grew close and were then tested when the war between the Union and Confederate armies threatened to tear them apart.

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This isn't the first time Jakes' trilogy has been adapted for the miniseries format. In 1985, producer David L. Wolper brought the first book to ABC as a miniseries to great success. It starred Patrick Swayze and James Read and is notable for being the seventh highest-rated miniseries of all time.

The second book in the trilogy was adapted in 1986 with "North and South: Book II," and the final book came to the screen in 1994 with "Heaven and Hell: North and South Book III." The third miniseries was widely regarded as a disappointment.

There's no word on if Discovery is planning to similarly divide its project, or if it plans to try to adapt all three books into one sprawling miniseries.

The miniseries will be a co-production between Discovery and Lionsgate. Discovery's first foray into scripted miniseries programming, "Klondike," is expected to air next year.

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