William Shakespeare Anthology 'A Midsummer's Nightmare' in the Works at Lifetime

Lifetime is looking to William Shakespeare for its next scripted drama.

The female-skewing cable network announced Monday that it has picked up a pilot for anthology series A Midsummer's Nightmare.

The first season of the anthology series takes on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and transforms the classic into a modern-day, mind-bending thriller that explores terror, deception and the dark side of love.

The drama centers on Elena, a young woman reluctantly drawn into a summer getaway-turned-nightmare. The potential series introduces four young lovers who steal off into the woods in pursuit of their romantic desires, but their plans are quickly thwarted when terrifying forces in the deep woods target the stranded group, using their own fantasies and darkest secrets against them.

The project hails from A+E Studios and marks a key sale for the in-house studio as both cable and broadcast networks are looking to own more of their content. The Firm's (formerly Prospect Park) Jeff Kwatinetz (Royal Pains) and Josh Barry (Salem) will exec produce the drama. Anthony Jaswinski (The Shallows) penned the script and will co-exec produce.

A Midsummer's Nightmare marks Lifetime's second project with A+E Studios and joins critical darling UnREAL. It also is the cabler's second pilot in the works at the moment, with Sea Change in postproduction.

Anthology series continue to be in high demand as the short-orders allow nets to draw top talent and maintain eyeballs in a fragmented and crowded scripted landscape. Also of appeal is the ability to sell each season to streaming services as a stand-alone series. 

“We’re really taking big swings at Lifetime and developing content that redefines what it means to be a Lifetime show," said Liz Gateley, the network's head of programming. "A Midsummer’s Nightmare is unlike anything Lifetime has ever done before."
 
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