10:59am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Hulu Orders J.J. Abrams, Stephen King Event Series About Kennedy Assassination
Hulu is in the Bad Robot business.
The streaming service has handed out a straight-to-series order for 11/22/63, a nine-hour event series from J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions and based on Stephen King's 2011 novel, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
11/22/63 is described as a thriller in which high school English teacher Jake Epping travels back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. But his mission is threatened by Lee Harvey Oswald, his falling in love and the past itself … which doesn’t want to be changed.
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Bridget Carpenter (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, The Red Road) will pen the script and exec produce the drama alongside King and Bad Robot's Bryan Burk. Bad Robot's Kathy Lingg will co-exec produce and Athena Wickham will produce. The drama hails from Warner Bros. Television, where Abrams' Bad Robot is under an overall deal. 11/22/63 marks the first collaboration for Abrams with Hulu, which will be the stateside home for the series. Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution will distribute the series globally.
"J.J. Abrams and Stephen King are two of the most celebrated storytellers of our time, and we are excited to be working with them and Warner Bros. Television to bring this unique take on one of the most seminal historic events of the 20th century to Hulu," Hulu head of content and senior vp Craig Erwich said. "11/22/63 already resonated with audiences as a best-selling novel, and we are looking forward to bringing the riveting story to the screen.”
Added King: “If I ever wrote a book that cries out for longform, event TV programming, 11/22/63 is it. I’m excited that it’s going to happen, and am looking forward to working with J.J. Abrams and the whole Bad Robot team.”
Added Abrams: “I’ve been a fan of Stephen King since I was in junior high school. The chance to work with him at all, let alone on a story so compelling, emotional and imaginative, is a dream. We are thrilled to be working with Hulu on this very special project.”
For Abrams, 11/22/63 marks his latest small-screen foray. In addition to CBS' Person of Interest, Bad Robot is prepping HBO's high-profile adaptation of Westworld. The banner recently saw the demise of Revolution, Almost Human and Believe. His credits include Fringe, Alcatraz and Lost. He's currently prepping Star Wars: Episode VII as well as the next installments in the Mission: Impossible and Star Trek franchises.
11/22/63 also becomes King's latest TV entry after CBS' Under the Dome. His credits include Under the Dome and Lifetime's Big Driver.
For its part, Hulu has dabbled in original content with projects such as dark comedy Deadbeat and Seth Meyers' The Awesomes. But the streamer is playing in a crowded landscape and has yet to have a breakout hit like Netflix's House of Cards. CEO Mike Hopkins signaled a renewed focus on original programming with the April hire of Warner Horizon's Erwich as head of content. He's been said to be searching for a buzzy new show for Hulu and has enlisted help from Storyline Entertainment's Beatrice Springborn, who was named head of originals in June.
11/22/63 bolsters Hulu's library content, which including exclusive SVOD rights to The Mindy Project, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Elementary. The streamer also recently struck exclusive deals for the entire South Park catalog and cult classic Party Down.
Natalie Jarvey contributed to this report.