Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
At today’s TCA panel on ABC’s new horror series 666 Park Avenue, executive producer David Wilcox said he believes a network show in the horror genre can hold its own against such blood-drenched cable competition as FX’s American Horror Story and AMC’s The Walking Dead. Said Wilcox: “I have been a horror fan for a long time, this kind of genre has a direct connection with the audience that has a great appeal to me. I’ve thought that there could be a show in the horror genre that could work on network television for a long time, it’s so successful theatrically”. The series is based on the book series by Gabriella Pierce. Wilcox said the books “have the DNA that could really work on network television. It’s a scary but character-driven supernatural soap”.
Wilcox appeared on the dais with executive producer Matthew Miller and cast embers Rachael Taylor, Vanessa Williams, Terry O’Quinn and Dave Annable. The producers were asked how they planned to compete with the freedom on cable to deal graphically with violence and horror. Wilcox said the producers would take their clue from Hitchcock, using psychological rather than graphic horror. “From the beginning, what I told my writers and expressed to ABC, we don’t have the tool of gore and blood and that kind of spectacle, it has forced us to be a lot more clever about how we tell these stories,” Wilcox said. “Not to say there aren’t some shocking, visceral moments, but we have to be a little different”. Miller and Wilcox were asked if the network had given them any restrictions as far as references to Satanism. “It’s encouraged now,” Miller joked. On a more serious note, Wilcox added this shouldn’t be a problem. “I have no idea what the limits are for ABC, but we’re really trying not to lean into the sort of expected elements of this kind of world,” Wilcox said. “It would have been very easy to have a mosaic of a pentagram in the basement. The closest thing to the devil is the title. No one is ever going to say ‘deal with the devil’.”