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Mark Verheiden To Co-Write, EP NBC’s ‘Dark Tower’ Series With Akiva Goldsman

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: TV, film and comic book writer Mark Verheiden has been tapped to co-write with Akiva Goldsman the NBC TV series The Dark Tower. The project is part of a massive joint deal Universal Pictures and NBC Universal TV Entertainment signed back in September to turn Stephen King’s opus of best-selling novels — which have sold more than 30 million copies — into into a feature film trilogy and a TV series, both of them creatively steered by the Oscar-winning team behind A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code.

Verheiden will executive produce the The Dark Tower series along with Goldsman and his Weed Road Pictures for Universal Media Studios. As previously announced, Ron Howard will direct the series, which is envisioned as a bridge between the first and second movie in the trilogy. This marks Verheiden’s return to NBC and UMS following his turn as a supervising producer on Heroes. He also was a writer/co-exec producer on the NBCU series Battlestar Galactica, which ran on Syfy. He most recently served as a co-executive producer of TNT’s upcoming sci-fi series Falling Skies, from DreamWorks TV. Verheiden, repped by CAA, Untitled and attorney Peter Nelson, is also in business with DreamWorks on the feature side, developing Quatermain for the studio, as well as Ark for Sony Pictures for producers Neal Moritz and Mike Richardson. He has written nearly 125 comic … Read More »

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Ron Howard On ‘The Dark Tower’

Mike Fleming

While I had Ron Howard on the phone yesterday to discuss the Imagine/Reliance Writers Lab that Karen Kehela Sherwood will supervise, I wasn’t going to let him get away without providing some update on The Dark Tower, the adaptation of Stephen King’s novel series which Akiva Goldsman is writing and which Brian Grazer will produce with Goldsman and King. They plan to turn King’s masterwork into a film trilogy with a network TV series programmed between films. Howard will direct the first film and the limited run series that will create a bridge to the second feature. “It is going well, and it has been incredibly stimulating to work on,” Howard said. “It’s dense, a great author’s life work is not to be taken lightly. It has been utterly fascinating to explore it, and we are having great creative conversations. I’ve begun tossing and turning at 3 in the morning over it, so that’s a good sign.” Considering the level of success Howard and Grazer have experienced together, it is encouraging that they still want to try new models and occasionally shake up the status quo, both with the writer’s lab and the unprecedented film/TV plan for The Dark Tower. Universal recently set a May 17, 2013 release date for the first feature.

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Networks Go For Dramas Based On Source Material; 3 More Adaptations Enter The Fray

Nellie Andreeva

With drama sale season in full force, book and format adaptations have emerged as a red-hot commodity. ABC is working on a U.S. version of hit British series Spooks with writer Michael Seitzman, NBC is developing an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Dark Tower with Imagine and writer Akiva Goldsman, Fox handed a series commitment to an Alex Kurtzman/Roberto Orci/DreamWorks TV-produced adaptation of King’s son Joe Hill’s graphic novel Locke & Key, CBS has picked up Treadstone, a spy drama based on Robert Ludlum’s novels from CSI creator Anthony Zuiker and feature writer John Glenn, and Warner Bros. is looking to turn DC comic The Sandman into series.

Three new projects are about to join them. Sony TV is developing a single-camera half-hour comedy based on the 2009 indie Breaking Upwards with the film’s co-writers/stars Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones and producer Aaron Kaplan. It centers on a young couple exploring alternatives to monogamy as they decide to spend 4 days a week together and the other 3 as single people. Kaplan is executive producing through his Kapital Entertainment. Wein, who also directed the movie, and Lister-Jones are expected to co-exec produce. The duo, repped by Gersh, recently sold comedy pitch Motherf***er to Fox Searchlight.

Glenn, who is writing Treadstone, is behind another adaptation that has received … Read More »

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Universal Lands Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ And Plans Unprecedented Feature/Network TV Adaptation

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television Entertainment have closed a deal to turn Stephen King’s mammoth novel series The Dark Tower into a feature film trilogy and a network TV series, both of which will be creatively steered by the Oscar-winning team behind A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code.

Ron Howard has committed to direct the initial feature film, as well as the first season of the TV series that will follow in close proximity. Akiva Goldsman will write the film, and the first season of the TV series. Howard’s Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer will produce, with Goldsman and the author.

When Deadline revealed in April that Howard, Goldman and Grazer planned to team with King, Universal was battling Warner Bros—home of Goldsman’s Weed Road–for the property. The multi-platform deal was so comprehensive, it took months to close. It will be announced later today by Universal Pictures chairman Adam Fogelson, co-chairman Donna Langley, NBC Universal Television Entertainment chairman Jeff Gaspin, and NBC & Universal Media Studios Primetime Entertainment president Angela Bromstad, all of whom pulled it together.

I spoke with Goldsman and Howard, who have polled enough of their peers to be convinced what they are doing here has never been attempted: using a major studio’s film and TV platforms simultaneously to tell a story. It is reminiscent of when Peter Jackson directed three installments of The Lord of Read More »

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