3:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Syfy Prepping Anthology Based on Web Horror Phenomenon 'Creepypasta'
Syfy is prepping a horror anthology based on an Internet meme of sorts.
The NBCUniversal-owned cable network is teaming with studio counterpart Universal Cable Productions for Channel Zero, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Channel Zero will be written by Nick Antosca (Hannibal, Friday the 13th) and produced by Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra), with each season focusing on a new story. The first season of the horror anthology will be based on Kris Straub's Candle Cove, a story that originates from a user-generated Internet horror phenomenon called "creepypasta." (Creepypasta is a form of horror stories that are passed around on web forums from multiple sites with the goal of disturbing and frightening readers. It takes its name from "copypasta," slang for copying and pasting a block of text from website to website.)
Straub's Candle Cove tells the story of a mysterious children's television show from the 1980s and its role in a series of murders — and one man's dark secret.
"We love the idea of doing seasons of TV like rich, character-driven horror novels, and for Channel Zero: Candle Cove we’ve expanded this great short story Candle Cove into something really nightmarish and haunting and surreal,” Landis and Antosca said in a joint statement. “We can’t wait to dig in deeper and bring this to life with Syfy and Universal Cable Productions.”
“Channel Zero: Candle Cove is a season-long imaginative and chilling horror anthology,” said Dawn Olmstead, exec vp development at Universal Cable Productions. “With its first story deriving from the cult favorite creepypasta, and the visionary minds of Landis and Antosca, it is elevated horror at its best. I’m still haunted by the first episode. It’s a chilling immersive ride.”
Added Bill McGoldrick, executive vp original content at Syfy: “Channel Zero: Candle Cove will feature contemporary storytelling and an innovative perspective that underscores Syfy’s commitment to bringing smart and provocative programming to a whole new generation of sci-fi fans.”
Channel Zero comes as UCP and Syfy are prepping to launch Childhood's End, the first adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's iconic novel, as well as Brave New World and The Magicians, among others.
Should Channel Zero — which is in development — move forward, it would join a rapidly growing roster of anthology series including FX's American Horror Story and American Crime Story; Fox's Scream Queens; HBO's True Detective; ABC's American Crime and Secrets and Lies, among others, as broadcast and cable networks look to short orders to lure both top-name cast and live viewers in an increasingly crowed and competitive landscape.