Sundance Channel series aims to remake Newark, N.J.

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Forest Whitaker, still hot from his Oscar for The Last King of Scotland, has emerged as the requisite celebrity backer of the series, though his role outside of a producer remains unclear (Reuters suggests a voice-over is a possibility). The series will be co-directed by Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin, and will pivot around a number of the ills the city faces, be it institutionalized corruption or environmental concerns.

The show, to be set over at least a year to follow the city’s progress over time, will debut toward the middle of 2009 with an initial order of six half-hour episodes.

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