'The Magicians' Drama Ordered to Series at Syfy

Based on Lev Grossman's best-selling fantasy book series.
Matt Furman
Dave Howe

Syfy is continuing its push to put science fiction back on the air.

The NBCUniversal-owned cable network has handed out a series order to The Magicians, based on Lev Grossman's best-selling fantasy book series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The 12-episode drama stars Jason Ralph (A Most Violent Year, Aquarius) as Quentin Coldwater, a brilliant grad student who enrolls in Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university specializing in magic. He and his 20-something friends soon discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real — and poses grave danger to humanity. Stella Maeve (Chicago P.D.), Hale Appleman (Teeth), Arjun Gupta (Nurse Jackie) and Summer Bishil (Towelhead, Lucky 7) co-star.

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From Universal Cable Productions, John McNamara (Prime Suspect) and Sera Gamble (Supernatural) penned the script and serve as showrunners. Mike Cahill directed the pilot. Groundswell Productions' Michael London and Janice Williams (Milk) exec produce.

"The Magicians pilot beautifully delivers a world filled with wonder, fantasy and intrigue," Syfy president Dave Howe said. “We can’t wait to delve deeper into the lives of Quentin and his college friends, as they struggle with the enormity of their burgeoning powers — and unleash them upon the world.”

The Magicians trilogy has been published in more than 20 countries. The conclusion to the series opened at No. 1 last summer on The New York Times' Hardcover Best Seller list.

Production begins in July in Vancouver.

Magicians joins a rapidly growing roster of originals at Syfy that includes 12 Monkeys — already renewed for a second season — and big-swings The Expanse and Childhood's End. The NBCUniversal-owned cable network also has drama series Hunters (from The Walking Dead EP Gale Anne Hurd) due in 2016 and a slate of dramas that also includes Olympus, Defiance, Haven, Z Nation and Dark Matter, among others.

The decision to go to series on Magicians comes days after Syfy canceled Sony Pictures Television-produced drama Helix and amid the network's concerted effort to focus on high-profile science fiction programming.

On the pilot side, Syfy's roster is now down to one: the Ben Affleck- and Matt Damon-produced Incorporated as the cabler has been aggressively going straight to series on multiple shows.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit

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