EXCLUSIVE: Prolific TV and film writer-creator Kevin Williamson has set up shop at Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group. Under an overall deal for Williamson and his production banner Outerbanks Entertainment, which was finalized in December, he already has four high-profile projects in development at the TV studio that run the gamut from thriller to murder mystery to a family crime drama.
They include Rear Window, a series reimagining of the Alfred Hitchcock classic, which has been set up at Peacock. The It Girl, based on Ruth Ware’s book, with Sarah L. Thompson co-writing alongside Williamson, and The Waterfront, based on an original concept, have been taken out to the marketplace, I hear. The fourth project, The Game, based on the David Fincher film with the movie’s original writers John Brancato & Michael Ferris executive producing, is in internal development.
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“Kevin is a prolific and brilliant creator with a proven track record of producing iconic hits for both the big and small screen,” said Erin Underhill, President of Universal Television. “He’s a trusted collaborator whose imagination is boundless and inspiring. We love our creative partnership with Kevin and his terrific team at Outerbanks. We think fans will love everything they are cooking up.”
Williamson’s Outerbanks Entertainment is led by Ben Fast, newly promoted to president, and Julia Buckingham, who recently joined as VP. Williamson and Fast executive produce all four projects on Outerbanks’ development slate.
A top horror writer behind the Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer franchises, Williamson is taking on the work of a genre icon, suspense thriller master Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Williamson will write the reimagining, which Davis Entertainment’s John Davis and John Fox executive produce alongside Williamson, Fast and MKT Productions.
Williamson also is writing The Waterfront, which takes him back to his North Carolina roots he previously explored in his first TV series, Dawson’s Creek (and used as an inspiration for the name of his production company). The family crime drama, which Williamson and Fast exec produce, follows the dysfunctional Buckleys as they struggle to keep their crumbling North Carolina fishing empire afloat.
The It Girl, based on the book by the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Ware, who is executive producing alongside co-writers Williamson and Thompson as well as Fast, follows a woman in the search for answers a decade after her friend’s murder.
In The Game, after a wealthy San Francisco banker is given an opportunity to participate in a mysterious game, his life is turned upside down as he begins to question if it might really be a concealed conspiracy to destroy him. Brancato and Ferris executive produce alongside Williamson and Fast. Search is underway for a writer.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of the Universal Television family,” said Williamson. “When making television, it’s so important to have partners who believe, support and inspire you. In Universal Television I have found exactly that. I’m excited to be working with such an amazing team doing what I love to do.”
Fincher’s 1997 mystery thriller The Game stars Michael Douglas and Sean Penn. Produced by Propaganda Films and distributed by PolyGram, it was ultimately acquired by Universal Pictures.
The 1954 thriller Rear Window was directed by Hitchcock from a script by John Michael Hayes based on Cornell Woolrich’s 1942 short story “It Had to Be Murder.” Starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly, the film earned four Oscar nominations, including for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. A 1998 TV adaptation starred Christopher Reeve and Daryl Hannah.
Williamson is known for co-creating the popular supernatural CW drama series, The Vampire Diaries, which ran for eight seasons and spawned two spinoffs, The Originals and Legacies. In addition to teen drama Dawson’s Creek, which ran for six seasons on the WB and jump-started the careers of its young stars, Williamson created the Kevin Bacon Fox drama The Following and Paramount+’s Tell Me a Story. His feature writing credits also include the sci-fi horror film The Faculty. He is repped by CAA and Felker Toczek Suddleson.
Ware has authored seven psychological crime novels, four of which are under screen option: Zero Days (set up at Uni Studio Group’s Universal International Studios) The Woman in Cabin 10, In a Dark, Dark Wood and One by One. Her books have sold more than six million copies and been translated into 40 languages. She is repped by the Eve White Literary Agency and The Gotham Group.
Thompson, currently an executive producer on Yellowjackets, and whose previous credits include How To Get Away With Murder and Bridgerton, is repped by CAA and Ziffren Brittenham. In addition to The Game, Ferris and Brancato teamed on the screenplay for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and co-created NBC series The Others. Ferris is repped by Hummel Entertainment and Goodman Genow; Brancato with Independent Artist Group and Myman Greenspan.
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