As the annual gathering of TV and comic’s most loyal fans at San Diego’s Comic-Con International 2017 kicks off tomorrow, Universal Cable Productions (UCP) unveiled today its annual genre development slate of notable projects for TV. The studio will also showcase talent and shows with fan-focused events, panels and screenings in conjunction with network partners at the celebrated convention. UCP series with a Comic-Con presence include: 12 Monkeys, Blood Drive, Channel Zero, Colony, Happy!, The Magicians, Mr. Robot and Psych: The Movie.
"We’re passionate about genre at UCP and as our latest development slate shows, we continue to work with some of the industry’s most vibrant and imaginative talent to bring fans genre fare they can get behind," said Jeff Wachtel, Chief Content Officer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and President, Universal Cable Productions. "What began with Battlestar Galactica has grown into a mainstay for UCP as the genre itself has exploded into the mainstream."
UCP today announced it is developing Maggie Stiefvater’s New York Times bestselling book series The Raven Cycle and Hugh Howey’s iconic post-apocalyptic novel series Sand for SYFY.
Based on Stiefvater’s four rural fantasy novels, The Raven Cycle tells the story of seventeen year old Blue Sargent who becomes involved with a group of four privileged private school boys on a quest to find a source of mythical and mysterious power hidden deep in rural Virginia. The closer they get to taking control of their destiny, the more threatening their journey becomes - both physically and emotionally, as Blue discovers she’s fated to kill one of the boys. Michael London (The Magicians) of Groundswell Productions will executive produce alongside showrunner/writer Andrew Miller (The Secret Circle) and Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight). Stiefvater will serve as co-EP. Hardwicke is also attached to direct the pilot.
Sand, a co-production with Imperative Entertainment, is an action drama set in a world ravaged by ecological devastation, savage winds, and shifting dunes. At its center is a family who makes their way in this world as sand divers: the elite few who can travel deep beneath the desert floor to retrieve mysterious and valuable relics lost to the dust. Adrift in the wake of their father’s disappearance years ago, they rely on skill and each other to endure this ruthless environment where otherwise good people lie, sabotage, and kill in order to survive. The series has an impressively large canvas of works, while telling a compelling and intimate story based on the best-selling dystopian novels by New York Times bestselling author Hugh Howey, who is also set to executive produce. The novels will be adapted for television by Executive Producer Gary Whitta (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). The pilot will be directed by Marc Forster (World War Z) who will also executive produce along with his partner Renee Wolf (All I See Is You); Imperative Entertainment’s Dan Friedkin (All The Money in the World), Tim Kring (Heroes) and Justin Levy (Teen Wolf) will also serve as executive producers.
Following up to last year’s development announcement of Welcome to Hitchcock, UCP announced today that Evan Spiliotopoulos (Beauty and The Beast) is attached to write the series, which is inspired by the work of Hollywood’s master of suspense and brings a modern day take on the very best of Alfred Hitchcock with contemporary retellings of his classic tales from innovative filmmakers and high-profile actors. UCP will collaborate on the project with Vermilion Entertainment, the newly formed television production company by the founders of Cross Creek Pictures, as well as Academy Award®-nominated producer Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures/Ocean Blue Entertainment. Columbus, Academy Award®-nominated producer Michael Barnathan, Timmy Thompson and Todd Thompson will serve as executive producers along with the Hitchcock Trust, as part of its development deal with UCP.
UCP is also adapting Kurt Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan, with Dan Harmon ("Rick & Morty") and Evan Katz ("Small Crimes"). The story follows Malachi Constant, the richest man in 22nd-century America. He possesses extraordinary luck which he attributes to divine favor and has used to build upon his father's fortune. He becomes the center point of a journey that takes him from Earth to Mars in preparation for an interplanetary war, to Mercury with another Martian survivor of that war, back to Earth to be pilloried as a sign of Man's displeasure with his arrogance, and finally to Titan where he again meets the man ostensibly responsible for the turn of events that have befallen him.
The studio also announced it has optioned Lord of Light, based on the Hugo award-winning science fantasy novel by Roger Zelazny. After humans have moved to a new planet, technological disparities allow a privileged few to assume the names and likenesses of deities, and rule over the common people. Tired of the system, a former "god" wages war against the unjust regime. Set to produce are Gale Anne Hurd (the Terminator trilogy) and Valhalla Entertainment; Barry Ira Gellar, Rich Angell and Mark B. Newbauer of Mike and Pike Productions. Ashley Miller (X-Men) will executive produce and is also set to write the adaptation.
The Raven Cycle, Sand, Sirens of Titan, and Lord of Light are the latest addition to UCP’s impressive genre development slate, including two projects from its recently announced overall deal with legendary horror master John Carpenter: Tales for a Halloween Night for SYFY and Nightside. On the heels of their Umbrella Academy Netflix series pick-up, UCP also announced yesterday a renewed first look deal with Dark Horse Entertainment to develop comic book IP and hit podcasts for TV. Currently, UCP is in various stages of production and script development on a range of series including: Season 3 of the award-winning Mr. Robot, The Sinner, Damnation, and Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G for USA Network; Happy! for SYFY; The Purge for USA Network and SYFY; All That Glitters for Bravo; and Impulse for YouTube Red.
UCP Series and Studio Presence at San Diego Comic-Con 2017:
USA Network’s ‘Mr. Robot’ Experience
From Universal Cable Productions, USA’s critically acclaimed series Mr. Robot will offer fans a chance to visit the nefarious E Corp’s "Bank of E," located at 327 4th Avenue, and receive their own E Corp card loaded with E Coin currency. The E Corp card, which can also be opened online at e-coin.com, can be used throughout San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter for food, drinks and other surprises at participating retailers (to be announced). ‘Con goers can also visit the show’s infamous Red Wheelbarrow BBQ, located next door to the Bank of E, and present their E Corp card for a BBQ meal. Superfans looking for a deeper Mr. Robot experience will have the chance to uncover clues, hints and surprises throughout Red Wheelbarrow and the Gaslamp, leading further into Elliot’s world. The Bank of E will be open for business Thursday, July 20 through Saturday, July 22 from 11am - 7pm and Sunday, July 23 from 11am - 4pm.
Panels, Screenings & Events
Thursday, July 20th
Colony (USA Network): Cast and Creators Season 3 Panel Discussion
2:00pm – 2:45pm – Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel
Battlestar Galactica (SYFY) Cast and Creator Reunion Panel
2:30pm - 3:30pm - Ballroom 20
12 Monkeys (SYFY): Cast and Creator Panel Discussion
7:15pm – 8:15pm – 6BCF
Friday, July 21st
Psych (USA Network): Cast Reunion and Movie Sneak Peek
10:00am – 11:00am – Ballroom 20
Universal Cable Productions 8th Annual Comic-Con Party (RSVP required. Strictly by invitation only)
6:00pm – 9:00 pm – Omnia Rooftop, San Diego
Saturday, July 22nd
Happy! (SYFY): Premiere Screening and Cast Q&A
2:45pm – 3:45pm – 6BCF
The Magicians (SYFY) Panel Discussion with Cast
4:00pm – 4:50pm – Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel
Channel Zero No End House (SYFY): Consumer Screening
8:00pm – 9:00pm – Horton Grand Theater
Blood Drive (SYFY): Consumer Screening
9:30pm – 10:30p – Horton Grand Theater