A&E, Carlton Cuse Adapting French Zombie Drama 'The Returned'

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"Lost" showrunner Carlton Cuse (WME, Del Shaw) will executive produce and oversee "The Bates Motel," A&E's planned prequel to "Psycho" being produced by Mark Wolper and Roy Lee.

A&E is getting into the zombie business.

The cable network home to Bates Motel has put into development a U.S. remake of French zombie drama The Returned. A writer has not been attached yet, but Bates co-showrunner Carlton Cuse is near a deal to adapt the drama.

Fabrice Gobert's The Returned is based on the feature film Les Revenants by Robin Campillo and is set in a French mountain town where a seemingly random group of people find themselves in a state of confusion as they attempt to return to their homes. What they don't know yet is that they have been dead for several years and no one is expecting them back. As they struggle to reintegrate with their families and past lovers, buried secrets emerge and new mysteries develop as they grapple with a miraculous and sinister new reality. But it seems they are not the only ones who have returned from the dead. Their arrival coincides with a series of gruesome murders, which bear a chilling resemblance to the work of a serial killer from the past. The series was produced by Caroline BenjoJimmy Desmarais and Carole Scotta from Haut et Court.

A&E's take will be a co-production of A&E Studios and FremantleMedia North America, in association with Haut et Court.

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"The Returned takes an incredibly unique approach, filled with suspense and twists and turns, to the subject of the living dead," A&E GM David McKillop said. "Part mystery, part thriller, The Returned is a perfect complement to A&E’s unique brand of scripted storytelling."

Added Thom Beers, CEO of FremantleMedia North America: "The Returned is a fascinating series with a truly unique premise. Having seen Fabrice Gobert’s original version and the success the series has had in France, we’re thrilled to be partnering with the team at A&E to bring this enigmatic thriller to U.S. audiences."

The news comes weeks after Sundance Channel announced that it had acquired the eight-part French series -- which aired to rave reviews and ratings after airing on Canal+ and the U.K.'s Channel 4 -- to air over Halloween.

For Cuse, should The Returned adaptation move forward, it would join A&E's Bates Motel and FX's The Strain (which is a pilot but expected to go to series) on the former Lost EP's plate.

The Returned development comes as AMC's The Walking Dead continued to break ratings records in its third season.

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
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