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Snapped: Behind Bars & Character-Driven Unscripted Success


Patrick Reardon, president of Jupiter Holdings, talks to TV Real about the one-hour special Snapped: Behind Bars and how Jupiter Entertainment is pushing the true-crime genre forward.

Sabrina Zunich, interviewed from jail as she continues to serve time for the murder of her foster mother, is at the center of Snapped: Behind Bars, a one-hour special produced by Jupiter Entertainment. Sitting behind bars, Zunich, who appeared in the original Snapped series, tells the story of her crime, how she now feels about it and why she snapped, in her own words.

“Even after 500 episodes, Snapped is beloved by its fans, [and] we are always looking for ways to refresh the series and continue to deliver great stories,” explains Patrick Reardon, president of Jupiter Holdings. “Over the years, the audience has gravitated to certain stand-out episodes. Behind Bars is the perfect opportunity for us to revisit some of those fan-favorites with new information, updates and, most importantly, a never-before-seen interview from the killer herself.”

According to Reardon, the original Snapped has found success and garnered such loyalty from its audience because of its consistency in delivering not only engaging stories but compelling characters in each episode as well. The stories are also relatable, with those who’ve “snapped” being someone that anyone might know, “like the seemingly normal next-door neighbor type who, when pushed to the brink, snaps. That fine line between love and hate is universally fascinating,” says Reardon.

Snapped: Behind Bars is slated to bow on February 14 on Oxygen, during its “Date with Death” Valentine’s Day Weekend. “At its heart, Snapped is a show about relationships,” says Reardon, explaining what makes the special a perfect fit for the holiday slot. “They call them crimes of passion for a reason, so what better holiday to launch this new series than Valentine’s Day!”

Overall, the state of the factual-content industry is feeling a boom that Reardon compares to that of the early 2000s during the writers’ strike, with Snapped and similar true-crime titles filling programming gaps. “The stories are just as compelling as the best scripted programs, and because of a nimble production model, we can continue to deliver new episodes week by week for our devoted fan base,” says Reardon.

With the increased demand for true-crime titles comes more true-crime supply, thus making the landscape more competitive. “The bar has been raised again and again,” notes Reardon. “Stories that would have popped a few years ago are having a hard time breaking through today.” At Jupiter, the strategy is to find that extra element that makes it stand out from the pack—more access, unique archives or an innovative way to tell a story. “The key for us is to always try to push the genre forward with each new project that we produce,” says Reardon.

Planning for the coming year, any company would be remiss not to take into consideration the ongoing pandemic, its strain on production and the simultaneous need for more content across broadcasters and streamers alike. “We will be dealing with the limitations and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic for months if not years,” says Reardon. “Despite the obstacles in front of us as producers, there is more demand than ever before. These situations will force us to be more creative than ever, and I believe that will lead to innovation that will benefit our industry for years to come.”








About Chelsea Regan

Chelsea Regan is the managing editor of World Screen. She can be reached at cregan@worldscreen.com.

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