NBC is giving the classic vampire tale of Count Dracula a contemporary spin. The network has teamed with producers Tony Krantz and Colin Callender and writer Cole Haddon for a Dracula series eyed for both the U.S. and international marketplace. The project, developed for NBC and NBCU’s international channels, has a “script-to-series” commitment, meaning that it won’t go through a pilot stage but straight to series if NBC brass like the script, which is currently being written by Haddon. Set in the 1890s, it is described as “Dangerous Liaisons meets The Tudors” and as a big, sweeping international soap opera that is young, sexy and supernatural. Frequent collaborators Krantz and Callender are executive producing, with Flame’s Reece Pearson co-executive producing.
In the deal for Dracula, NBC employed the same model it is using for another drama project about an iconic villain, Hannibal. That project, written by Bryan Fuller and produced by Gaumont International Television, also has a commitment for a script against 13-episode order. Both shows have pre-sold titles, along with Fuller’s Munsters reboot, which was recently picked up to pilot by NBC. Vampires have been hot on the big and the small screen lately with the blockbuster Twilight movie franchise and hit series True Blood and The Vampire Diaries. In addition to Dracula, TV producer/feature director Kratz and former HBO executive-turned-producer Callender have another drama project at NBC and Universal TV, The Fixer, based on the life of top New York attorney Edward Hayes.
Cole Haddon has experience with rebooting classic dark characters. His feature script Hyde, about an allegedly rehabilitated Dr. Jekyll, landed on the 2010 Black List. The project is being developed by Dark Horse Entertainment, Mark Gordon Prods. and Skydance Prods.
Bryan Fuller may have two series on NBC; the man behing ‘Pushing Daisies’ is behind two high-profile projects, The Munsters and Hannibal, both of them on a script-to-series track. Fuller originally developed a reboot of the 1960s comedy series The Munsters last season and his was one of very few scripts new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt kept in play when he took over the network in January. Greenblatt rolled the project to get it redeveloped by his team. Fuller’s new outline submitted in September was received well (it was the talk of NBC’s pre-Emmy party), and his draft was just delivered last Friday.
Word is that NBC, which may pull the trigger on a series order as early as this week, envisions the new Munsters as a potential summer or event series. Like Fuller’s previous series, Pushing Daisies, the project features striking visuals mixed with all the classic Munsters archetypes. Grandpa Sam Dracula is essentially Dracula who assembled Herman because no man was good enought for his daughter Lily, a sexy vamp. Lily’s niece Marilyn the freak is actually normal and Lily and Herman’s only child, Eddie, has his werewolf tendencies surface in puberty, forcing the family to relocate to their famous 1313 Mockingbird Lane address.
Separately, Fuller is writing Hannibal, a drama series for Gaumont International Television and producer Martha De Laurentiis, which NBC just bought preemptively. Fuller is writing the script about based on the iconic literary and film character Hannibal Lecter against a 13-episode commitment, meaning that the script will trigger a 13-episode series if NBC likes it. (NBC has a short window to decide upon receiving the draft, with a potential release triggering a penalty.) I hear the network first got interested in the project when Fuller mentioned it casually to the network’s new entertainment president Jennifer Salke over drinks. A well-known foodie as evidenced by Pushing Daisies, apparently Fuller was attracted to the dark, sick side of Hannibal, who tends to feast on his victims.