Nellie Andreeva

TheReturned_CompleteA U.S. version of the acclaimed and popular French  drama The Returned (Les Revenants) is a go. A&E has given a 10-episode straight-to-series order to the project, also titled The Returned, which had been on fast-track development since the network acquired the rights to the French series last fall. Carlton Cuse (Bates Motel) wrote the first episode, and he and Raelle Tucker (True Blood) will write and executive produce the supernatural/suspense series, a co-production between A+E Studios and FremantleMedia North America, with three scripts already completed. Casting will begin immediately.

carltoncusejpgBased on the International Emmy-winning French suspense series by Fabrice Gobert, which in turn was inspired by the French feature film of the same name directed by Robin Campillo, The Returned focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people, who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear, bringing with them both positive and detrimental consequences. As families are reunited, the lives of those who were left behind are challenged on a physical and emotional level as strange phenomena begin to occur. I hear A&E’s version is faithful to the original. A&E logo1The Returned has the potential to be one of the most compelling drama series on cable, thanks to phenomenal scripts written by Carlton and Raelle,” said A&E general manager David McKillop. This marks the second straight-to-series order for Cuse at A&E, where he also has Psycho prequel series Bates Motel, recently renewed for a third season. With the pickup of The Returned, Cuse ties Julie Plec as the writing drama producer with the most series on the air, 3: Bates Motel, and The Returned at A&E and the upcoming horror series The Strain at FX — not too shabby for the former Lost co-showrunner who had been eyeing a slower pace following his intense stint on the complex ABC series.

A&E’s The Returned joins a number of series projects about deceased returning to their loved ones that have sprouted following the blockbuster success of AMC’s zombie drama The Walking Dead. It will air alongside ABC’s Resurrection, certain to be renewed for a second season, and the original French series The Returned, which airs in the U.S. on SundanceTV. Additionally, NBC has similarly-themed drama pilot Babylon Fields in contention. A&E is looking to rebound after its most recent scripted drama, Those Who Kill, was pulled after two episodes. The Returned is co-produced by A+E Studios and FMNA in association with Haut et Court TV SAS, producer of the French series. Executive producers are Cuse, Tucker for Angry Annie Productions and Thom Beers, Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk for FremantleMedia North America. FremantleMedia will distribute the series internationally, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The executives overseeing the project are Beers and Craig Cegielski for FMNA and Bob DeBitetto for A+E Studios.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.