Second take: Spielberg, TNT do 'Talisman'


Following last year's limited series "Into the West," TNT is getting into business with Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Television again, this time to bring the Stephen King-Peter Straub novel "The Talisman" to the small screen.

TNT said Tuesday that it has greenlighted a six-hour limited-series adaptation of the novel, first published in 1984. "Talisman" centers on a boy who goes on a quest through this world and a parallel world known as the Territories, experiencing good and evil in each. His goal is to obtain a mysterious talisman that will save his dying mother's life as well as the life of her "twinner," the Queen of the Territories.

The project, set to premiere in summer 2008, will be executive produced by Spielberg and his frequent partner Kathleen Kennedy along with Ehren Kruger ("The Ring"), who will adapt the novel. Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, who head DreamWorks Television, will co-executive produce.

Michael Wright, senior vp original programming at TNT and TBS, said the discussions about a second collaboration with Spielberg and DreamWorks started after the 12-hour "West" aired in summer 2005. Wright said that he, Spielberg, Frank and Falvey were talking about potential projects, and "a couple days later, Steven called back and said, 'What do you think of 'The Talisman'? Ironically, I had tried to pursue the project a few times before at other places, but it had never been available."

DreamWorks SKG previously had been developing "Talisman" as a feature film. Before that, the project was being developed as a miniseries at ABC.

Wright praised Spielberg and King, calling them "incredibly talented people who consistently create entertaining work that's very smart," which is in line with "what we aspire to do at Turner." He also said that "Talisman" is "truly one of Stephen King's best books."

"It's a fantastic adventure, it's scary, it's full of wonder," he said. "I can't stress enough that I'm so pleased to be working with these people (again). All of us had a really fantastic experience working together on 'Into the West' both creatively and in terms of the show's reception."

TNT has adapted two other King books: The four-hour "Salem's Lot," one of 2004's top-rated cable movies, and "Nightmares & Dreamscapes," an eight-part anthology series that aired this summer.

Spielberg's other longform TV credits include HBO's "Band of Brothers" and Sci Fi Channel's "Taken."