Spielberg will produce 12-hour Western miniseries. The TNT saga will look at decades of frontier life, from both settler and Native American viewpoints

By Gary Susman
Updated July 29, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Western is one of the few genres Steven Spielberg hasn’t tried to conquer yet, but he’ll make up for it in a big way with an upcoming 12-hour miniseries. According to the Hollywood Reporter, he’ll produce for TNT an epic about the settlement of the frontier. The yet-to-be-titled $40 million saga will look at the Old West over two generations through the viewpoints of two families, one among the settlers, and one among the Native Americans they displaced.

”I think it is important to him to tell all sides of the story,” DreamWorks Television co-chief Justin Falvey told the Reporter. He said the production would aim for historical authenticity. ”We’re not afraid to go into controversial areas and tell it like it is.”

That might make for some extreme violence and controversy, but TNT executive VP Steve Koonin told the Reporter he doesn’t mind. ”When Steven asked if could tell the story of what really happened, we said, ‘Absolutely.’ It will have controversy. Some of it might not be pretty, but some of it might be spectacular.”

The TNT deal comes a week after the announcement that Spielberg and Tom Hanks would produce a follow-up miniseries to their HBO success ”Band of Brothers,” which would be another World War II tale set in the Pacific theater. Spielberg also enjoyed success with last year’s Sci-Fi Channel miniseries ”Taken.”