NBCU’s Wilshire Studios Aligns with BuzzFeed for Crime Docuseries


UNIVERSAL CITY: NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s Wilshire Studios is teaming up with BuzzFeed News to develop a crime investigation docuseries based on the mysterious death of Jessica Chambers, the Mississippi teen who was doused with gasoline and set on fire in December 2014.

The series is inspired by the investigative reporting of BuzzFeed News’ senior national reporter Katie J.M. Baker, who reported Chambers’ story, uncovering developments and helping raise awareness about the case. Joe Berlinger (Brother’s Keeper, the Paradise Lost trilogy) is set to executive produce.

The case surrounding Chambers’ death remains unsolved; though, in 2016, a grand jury indicted Quinton Tellis, charging him with capital murder. Tellis has pled not guilty to the charge. A trial date has been set for July of 2017, which Wilshire Studios plans to cover as part of its development. 

“Tragic in its own right, the story of Jessica Chambers speaks to all of us, from erupting racial tensions to the growing entanglements of rural poverty and drug use to the weakening of authorities in the face of a media-consuming culture,” said Berlinger. “The opportunity to partner with Wilshire Studios and Buzzfeed with the goal of digging into the case and hopefully providing some answers for the family and community still struggling in its aftermath is the reason I got into this business.”

“Jessica’s heartbreaking story continues to spark tremendous public interest largely due to the groundbreaking reporting by Buzzfeed News,” said Dawn Olmstead, the executive VP of development at Wilshire Studios. “We look forward to re-examining this very gruesome and controversial murder through Joe Berlinger’s creative lens, and bring to life his unparalleled vision in the true crime documentary genre.”

“This is the perfect example of how BuzzFeed can extend the life of its content—be it serious journalism or entertaining videos—beyond the original social platforms where it was created,” said Matthew Henick, the head of development for BuzzFeed. “We’re excited to partner with Wilshire Studios and Joe Berlinger to bring Katie Baker’s impactful reporting to a new audience through this docuseries.”