'Chucky' TV Series a Go at Syfy

Child's Play 2 - Publicity - H -  2019

Syfy has a flashy new reboot of its own.

The NBCUniversal-owned cable network has handed out a straight-to-series order for a new take on the horror franchise Chucky. An episode count and premiere date have yet to be determined. The news was announced Saturday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour, where Syfy was attending alongside corporate siblings from NBCU.

In other news from Syfy, the cabler also announced it is developing The League of Pan, a limited series extending the adventures of Peter Pan but focused on the group of misfit children who refused to grow up.

First put into development a year ago, the new Chucky take hails from original franchise creator Don Mancini, who will pen the script, executive produce, serve as showrunner and direct the pilot. The project brings him back to the Syfy fold following his work on the anthology Channel Zero.

The new Chucky will explore the horror that unfolds in a small idyllic American town after a vintage Chucky doll turns up at a suburban yard sale and the chaos that ensues when a series of murders exposes the town's hypocrisies and secrets. Meanwhile, the arrival of enemies and allies from Chucky's past threatens to expose the truth behind the slayings as well as the doll's untold origins.

David Kirschner (Hocus Pocus) and Nick Antosca (Channel Zero) will exec produce via the latter's Eat the Cat banner. The project hails from Universal Content Productions, where Antosca is based under an overall deal. Harley Peyton (Channel Zero) will also exec produce.

"The character Don and David created has terrified audiences for over 30 years. The longevity and legacy of Chucky speaks to the creative storytelling and the loyal fans the film series has collected over the years,” USA and Syfy president Chris McCumber said in a statement. “We are excited to once again partner with Nick and UCP on this new Syfy series, and are incredibly proud to bring Chucky to television for the first time with the original creators.” 

The franchise, which launched in 1988 with Child's Play, consists of seven films, all written by Mancini and produced by Kirschner. The pics have grossed nearly $200 million worldwide and also led to a massive wave of merchandising that includes video games, comics and other paraphernalia. The TV project arrives six months after news broke that MGM is remaking Child's Play for the big screen.

Chucky arrives as Syfy's roster of scripted originals had dwindled following the cancellations of such shows as Krypton, Deadly Class, Happy and the conclusion of Killjoys. Syfy parent company NBCUniversal has largely been focusing on the launch of the streaming service Peacock, which will feature a collection of library and original titles from across the company's portfolio. To that end, a new take on former Syfy favorite Battlestar Galactica — from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail — was picked up straight to series, not on the linear network but for Peacock. Syfy's slate consists of the fifth season of The Magicians, the acquisitions Van Helsing and Wynonna Earp and the upcoming Resident Alien and Vagrant Queen.

As for The League of Pan, Brian McCauley Johnson (Syfy's Dominion) will pen the script that picks up 10 years after the events of Peter Pan and follows a grown-up Wendy Darling and the Lost Boys, who are all forced to return to Neverland and face a new threat. Thematically, the drama — should it move to series — would follow the truths of growing up and the fact that going home is never as easy as you think. The project also hails from UCP.

“The stories of Peter Pan, The Lost Boys and the Darlings have provided us with epic tales of gallantries and escapism for generations,” said Bill McGoldrick, president of originals at NBCU Entertainment Networks and its direct-to-consumer unit. “Now, Syfy is developing an original take on the classic, setting the limited series in uncharted lands, making for new adventures and showcasing these characters like you’ve never see them before.”