NBC Struggles to Salvage $10 Million Munsters Reboot
This story first appeared in the Oct. 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
NBC has a big decision to make regarding its high-profile reboot of The Munsters. After two years in development and a pilot that sources say cost a whopping $10 million, the network is said to be unhappy with Mockingbird Lane (named for the famed family's 1313 address) and is on the verge of scrapping the whole project.
What went wrong? Based on the goofy 1964-66 CBS comedy series about a Frankenstein-ish patriarch and his monstrous relatives, NBC's new version teamed writer-producer Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) with director Bryan Singer (the X-Men movies, House) and lured a top cast including Portia de Rossi as Lily Munster, Jerry O'Connell as Herman Munster and Eddie Izzard as the Dracula-esque Grandpa.
The series was originally launched before current chariman Bob Greenblatt came on board in early 2011, but Greenblatt ordered the re-development of the project when he took the reins. Yet Fuller and Singer are said to have had differing opinions about the visual style of the pilot. And sources say NBC execs were adamant that the Munsters family should exist in a contemporary real-world setting, creating a fish-out-of-water feel for the characters and storylines, while Fuller preferred a more visually stylistic world akin to his critically acclaimed Daisies. Reshoots were ordered, but the final pilot is said to have come in below NBC's expectations. And with the in-demand Fuller now busy shooting NBC's 13-episode Hannibal series, based on serial killer Hannibal Lecter of The Silence of the Lambs, he's not able to focus on saving the Munsters project. So NBC has been left to consider all options to salvage its investment in the property.
Sources say the network could choose to air the completed pilot as a Halloween special (either this year or next), or it might decide to shoot extra footage and package it as a made-for-TV movie for international buyers. Or Greenblatt and NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke could decide to go all-in and redevelop the project again. "It's a fluid situation, but none of the options is ideal, especially considering the promise that this thing had," says one source close to the project. NBC and reps for Fuller and Singer declined comment.