April 07, 2014 9:33am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Syfy Orders Zombie Drama From 'Eureka' Producer
Syfy continued to bulk up its scripted offerings Monday, handing out a straight-to-series order for zombie drama Z Nation.
The 13-episode series hails from Eureka producer Karl Schaefer, who will serve as executive producer and showrunner. The drama, from Sharknado producers The Asylum, is described as an action-horror series that depicts the epic struggle to save humanity after a zombie apocalypse. The show will debut in the fall on Syfy.
"Z Nation will take viewers where no zombie has gone before,' Syfy senior vp programming Chris Regina said in making the announcement Monday. "[The show adds] a sense of hope to the horror of the apocalypse -- our everyday heroes take the fight to the zombies. It'll be an epic journey unlike anything you've seen before."
Syfy described the series, which has yet to be cast, as an ensemble show that will take viewers into a fully imagined post-zombie America. The series is set three years after a mysterious zombie virus has gutted the country and follows a team of everyday heroes tasked with transporting the only known survivor of the plague from New York to California, where the last functioning viral lab waits for his blood. Although the antibodies he carries are the world’s last, best hope for a vaccine, he hides a dark secret that threatens them all. With humankind's survival at stake, the ragtag band embarks on a journey of survival across three thousand miles of unexpected terrain.
For Syfy, the series joins a rapidly growing slate of originals that includes new addition Olympus; an adaptation of 12 Monkeys; Dominion; Helix; Continuum; Defiance; Haven; Lost Girl; and six-episode event series Ascension.
The push for more genre fare comes as Syfy has made it a priority to return to the sci-fi/fantasy space it once ruled with Battlestar Galactica.
Z Nation arrives as zombie dramas continue to be in demand following the breakout success of AMC's The Walking Dead. That series, based on Robert Kirkman's comics series of the same name, is TV's highest-rated original scripted drama among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic.
Broadcast networks have also joined the zombie craze, picking up multiple pilots this season. The CW has comics adaptation iZombie from Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas; NBC revived its 2007 pilot Babylon Fields; and ABC has found ratings success with its Sunday midseason drama Resurrection, which explores the dead mysteriously returning to life years after their deaths.
For his part, Schaefer served as a co-EP on Syfy's Eureka during its first season. His credits include Ghost Whisperer, Stephen King's Dead Zone, Eerie, Indiana, and Strange Luck.
Dynamic Television will handle international sales on the series.
Editor's note: This story has been updated following a revision from Syfy; Schaefer did not create Eureka.