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The basic cable network has put a TV adaption of Lives of the Mayfair Witches in development and opened a writers room for the potential series based on author Rice’s three-book trilogy. Masters of Sex alums Esta Spalding and Michelle Ashford have boarded Mayfair Witches as writers and exec producers, with the former on board as showrunner should the drama move from development to a series order.
Mayfair Witches revolves around an intuitive young neurosurgeon who discovers that she is the unlikely heir to a family of witches. As she grapples with her newfound powers, she must contend with a sinister presence that has haunted her family for generations.
Mayfair Witches is the second in AMC’s planned Rice universe and joins Interview With the Vampire, which was picked up to series last summer after the cabler landed rights to both titles and 16 others as part of a deal with the author in May 2020. In announcing the Vampire series order, AMC enlisted Mark Johnson (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) to steer its Rice franchise. Johnson and Spalding both have overall deals with AMC.
“We have an enormous amount of ambition for these iconic works, which have captivated and entertained millions of fans around the world, so it is gratifying to be moving so quickly from the Interview greenlight to exploring a second series with such talented and accomplished writers and creators as Esta and Michelle,” said Dan McDermott, president of original programming at AMC Networks and AMC Studios. “We take our responsibility to deliver compelling television to both existing and new fans of this material incredibly seriously, as we move deliberately to develop these titles into a new franchise and universe for AMC+ and AMC.”
AMC landed rights to Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches series as part of the deal with the author and her writer son, Christopher Rice, last year. That encompasses Interview With the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, The Queen of the Damned, The Tale of the Body Thief, Memnoch the Devil, The Vampire Armand, Pandora, Vittorio the Vampire, Blood and Gold, Prince Lestat, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis and Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat; The Witching Hour, Lasher, Taltos and The Vampire Chronicles/The Lives Of The Mayfair Witches crossover novels Merrick, Blackwood Farm and Blood Canticle.
First published in 1990 with The Witching Hour, the Mayfair Witches trilogy also includes sequels Lasher (1993) and Taltos (1994). Vampire, which recently cast Sam Reid as Lestat, is due in 2022. Together, The Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide.
In other AMC development news, the cabler has opened writers rooms for two other projects: Demascus from exec producer Johnson and writer Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm; and Invitation to a Bonfire, from scribe Rachel Caris Love. Both projects have been picked up via AMC’s script-to-series model, meaning that should the scripts come in, they would bypass the traditional pilot pickup in favor of a straight-to series-order. Demascus is a sci-fi comedy that revolves around a 33-year-old Black man on a mission of self-discovery in the field of digital psychiatry that may be the key to defining his truest self. Invitation to a Bonfire is based on the book of the same name by Adrienne Celt and inspired by the Nabokov marriage. The psychological thriller set at an all-girls boarding school in New Jersey during the 1930s and follows Zoya, a naïve Russian groundskeeper, who becomes obsessed with the school’s newest faculty member, an enigmatic novelist, and is drawn into a lethal love triangle with him and his bewitching wife.
AMC on Tuesday, during its virtual time at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, also announced premiere dates for AMC+ offerings Kin (Sept. 9); Ragdoll (Nov. 11); Anna (Nov. 18); AMC’s Ultra City Smiths (Sept. 13); Walking Dead: World Beyond (Oct. 3); Fear the Walking Dead (Oct. 17); and BBC America’s Doctor Who (fall).
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