Investigation Discovery has carved out a niche for itself with a series of true-crime shows about love gone wrong, with titles like “Deadly Affairs” and “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”
So it’s little surprise that its next entry into the field is “Heartbreakers,” a scripted/documentary hybrid series that features actors from well-loved past TV shows dramatizing true-crime stories.
Starting Aug. 13, you’ll get to see the likes of Tracey Gold, Jack Wagner, Christopher Knight, Nicole Eggert and Kevin Sorbo playing two-timing lovers, con artists and philanderers — interspersed with news footage and interview of the real-life people they’re playing.
“We’re always looking for new and interesting ways to tell these great stories,” executive producer Pamela Deutsch said Wednesday (July 9) at the summer TV critics’ press tour. “I think it’s pretty obvious the nostalgia factor is a big part in ‘Heartbreakers.’ What we did is we looked for really iconic Hollywood actors from the … golden age of the prime-time soap, and we went from there. We picked stories from that [time] and we looked to cast people who I think epitomize that era.”
It’s campy, yes. The effect is what one critic described as “true-crime ‘Sharknado'” — a comparison the people on stage seemed to think was pretty valid.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to play off type for me,” says Knight, who plays a small-town high school principal involved in a love triangle with the school clerk (Gold) and the new football coach (Antonio Sabato Jr.) in his story. “I’m not asked to do this kind of work.”
“You have to approach it with a realistic sensibility, because it is real life and it is real people,” Gold adds. “You don’t want to approach it as a joke. Obviously there’s a camp element to it, but I think that will come through on its own. If you approach it straightforward, it plays way better.”
Still, Deutsch cops to having some fun with the casting: “You have Carol Seaver involved in a tawdry love triangle. You have Peter Brady doing some really naughty things. You have Hercules as a real antihero. … It was just fun to play a little bit with the nostalgia, and there are some nods to their previous roles.”
“Heartbreakers” premieres at 10 p.m. ET Aug. 13 on Investigation Discovery.