Waters put on Death watch by Court TV

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Court TV is trying its first original scripted series, ordering a pilot for a murder-mystery anthology featuring filmmaker John Waters.

The cable channel expects to order 12 more episodes of 'Til Death Do Us Part, which will dramatize real-life cases of spousal murder. Waters will take on a regular role as the "Groom Reaper" in Death, setting the story for the viewer from his vantage point as a guest at the tragic couple's wedding, where each episode begins.

Shooting in New York this month, Death will begin airing in the first quarter in Court TV's prime-time entertainment block, which previously was filled with unscripted fare including Forensic Files and Psychic Detectives. But seeing how Psychic influenced hit dramas like NBC's Medium helped persuade the network to take a chance on scripted series.

"Court TV was always at the forefront of making forensics entertainment," said Marc Juris, general manager of programming and marketing at the network. "We do have a history of trying to tell stories in a way that involves high-stakes investigation and closure."

The premiere episode will depict the story of Nancy Seaman, a Michigan mother who stood trial on the charge of first-degree murder for killing her husband with a hatchet. She claimed self-defense.

Death will be produced by Jeff Lieberman (Satan's Little Helper) of KaBoo Productions, who specializes in low-budget horror-genre productions. Juris felt his low-cost approach to horror would perfectly complement the tone of Death, which he described as "delicious cynicism," as would the casting of cult icon Waters.

The director, last seen onscreen in the theatrical release Seed of Chucky, said in a statement that Death fulfilled his aspiration to be like one of the horror world's biggest icons.

"I've always been jealous of Vincent Price's career," Waters said. "Maybe now that he's dead, I can hijack it."

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