'Time Traveler's Wife' Drama From Steven Moffat Scores HBO Green Light

Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and Steven Moffat - NEW -Split-H 2018
Courtesy Photo; Getty Images

HBO, under orders to do more from new corporate parent WarnerMedia, has handed out a straight-to-series order for a take on Audrey Niffenegger's novel The Time Traveler's Wife.

The drama, which landed at the premium cabler after a multiple-outlet bidding war, will be adapted by Steven Moffat (Sherlock, Doctor Who). An episode count and premiere date have yet to be determined. Casting has not yet begun. 

The drama is described as an intricate and magical love story that tells the story of Clare and Henry, and a marriage with a problem ... time travel.   

"I read Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife many years ago, and I fell in love with it," Moffat said. "In fact, I wrote a Doctor Who episode called 'The Girl in the Fireplace' as a direct response to it. When, in her next novel, Audrey had a character watching that very episode, I realized she was probably on to me. All these years later, the chance to adapt the novel itself, is a dream come true. The brave new world of long-form television is now ready for this kind of depth and complexity. It’s a story of happy ever after — but not necessarily in that order.”

Moffat will pen the script and exec produce alongside Sue Vertue and Brian Minchin. The series hails from Warner Bros. Television and Hartswood Films, the latter serving as the production company jointly run by Moffat and his TV-producing wife, Vertue.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with Steven Moffat, Hartswood and WBTV on The Time Traveler’s Wife," HBO programming president Casey Bloys said. "Steven’s passion is evident in every project he’s written and we are certain that his love and respect for this mesmerizing and textured novel will make it a quintessential HBO series."

The news comes a day after HBO went to series on its pilot take for teen drama pilot Euphoria, starring Zendaya and from exec producer Drake. The premium cable network, after the merger between corporate parent Warner Bros. and AT&T, has been asked to increase its slate of originals in a bid to better compete with streaming rivals including Netflix and Amazon, with Apple also recently gobbling up top-tier scripted programming. The challenge, Bloys has stressed, will be to increase production while not sacrificing what HBO is best known for: high quality.  

The Time Traveler's Wife was previously adapted for the big screen in 2009 with stars Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, and directed by Robert Schwentke. New Line, a division of Warner Bros., produced the release and maintained rights to the property. The big-screen Time Traveler's Wife grossed more than $100 million worldwide on a budget of $39 million.

“HBO is the perfect home to tell this incredible story with all the scale and space it needs, and we’re delighted to be working with Warner Bros. to bring Steven’s thrilling vision of the novel to life,” Hartswood Films said in a statement announcing the news Tuesday. 

The HBO version arrives as fellow premium cabler Starz has found breakout success with its time-traveling love story Outlander.
The Time Traveler's Wife joins a rapidly growing HBO slate that includes Joss Whedon's The Nevers, Big Little Lies, True Detective, Veep, Game of Thrones, J.J. Abrams' Demimonde and Lovecraft Country (from Jordan Peele), Westworld, Barry, Ballers, Crashing, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Deuce, Insecure, Silicon Valley, Succession, Camping and Nicole Kidman's The Undoing, among others.