2:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Omen' Sequel 'Damien' Moves From Lifetime to A&E
The Omen follow-up Damien is on the move.
The straight-to-series drama from The Walking Dead's Glen Mazzara is moving from Lifetime to corporate sibling A&E Network, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Additionally, the Fox 21 series, described as a follow-up to Fox's 1976 horror classic, has added four episodes with the move, bringing its total to 10 hours.
"A&E’s unwavering commitment to high-quality original scripted drama programming, coupled with the sizable fan base for our hit series Bates Motel, which so perfectly aligns with Damien, make the network the ideal fit for this exceptional show,” said Rob Sharenow, exec vp and GM at A&E and Lifetime. “We are thrilled with what we’ve seen so far and know that Glen and the creative team have even more story to tell in season one.”
Damien follows the adult life of Damien Thorn (Bradley James, Homeland), the mysterious child from 20th Century Fox's 1976 feature The Omen. In the A&E series, Damien has grown up and is seemingly unaware of the satanic forces around him. Haunted by his past, Damien must now come to terms with his true destiny — that he is the Antichrist, the most feared man of all time. Barbara Hershey stars as Ann Rutledge, who is tasked with making sure Damien fulfills his destiny as the Antichrist. The cast also includes Omid Abtahi and Meganlyn Echikunwoke.
Scheduled to launch in 2015, Mazzara will write and exec produce the series via his 44 Strong Productions. Ross Fineman (Lights Out) developed the project alongside Mazzara and will also exec produce via Fineman Entertainment. Pancho Mansfield exec produces with Shekhar Kapur, the latter of whom directed the pilot.
For A&E, Damien helps bolster a scripted lineup that consists of Bates Motel — currently awaiting its fourth-season renewal — and freshman remake The Returned, both from exec producer Carlton Cuse (Lost), as well as CBS' revived Unforgettable. (Bates is considered a shoo-in to come back, while Returned is heavily on the bubble.)
The decision to move the series — picked up in August — comes two months after Sharenow took on oversight of A&E following David McKillop's departure.
In an executive suite interview with THR two weeks ago, Sharenow hinted at the reasoning behind Damien's move to A&E, saying that "Lifetime will always be female-focused, and A&E is more male skewing. Plus, A&E is a more intense drama brand ... But in both instances, I'm really just trying to set the quality bar higher."