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Author Anne Rice’s well-traveled Vampire Chronicles novels have found a new TV home.
AMC Networks has entered an agreement to acquire rights to both the Vampire Chronicles and Rice’s Lives of the Mayfair Witches series. Together, the two encompass 18 books, including three crossovers between the two series.
AMC will develop projects based on the books via its AMC Studios banner. Rolin Jones (Friday Night Lights, HBO’s upcoming Perry Mason), who recently signed an overall deal with the cabler, will be involved in developing projects from the Rice catalog for TV. The author and her son, Christopher Rice, will be executive producers of all TV and film projects that result from the deal.
“There is no shortage of content in today’s competitive environment, but proven IP that has captivated millions of fans around the world is something very special and rare, and that is what Anne Rice has created,” Sarah Barnett, president of AMC Networks Entertainment Group and AMC Studios, said Wednesday in a statement. “These remarkable stories and characters are massive in their appeal, and we are privileged to take over stewardship of these legendary works and collaborate with a talent like Rolin Jones to find ways for new generations of fans to experience these worlds.”
Added Rice, “It’s always been my dream to see the worlds of my two biggest series united under a single roof so that filmmakers could explore the expansive and interconnected universe of my vampires and witches. “That dream is now a reality, and the result is one of the most significant and thrilling deals of my long career.”
AMC Networks is the latest of several stops for TV rights to The Vampire Chronicles. Rice announced in November 2016 that she had regained theatrical rights to the novels and was working to develop a TV series based on the books. Five months later, Paramount Television and Anonymous Content optioned rights to the franchise in early 2017, with Christopher Rice — a best-selling author in his own right — attached to adapt the novels.
Bryan Fuller joined the Paramount/Anonymous project as showrunner in early 2018 but stepped aside not long afterward; sources told The Hollywood Reporter at the time he opted to exit rather than step on the toes of longtime friends in the Rices.
In July 2018, more than a year after Paramount TV and Anonymous Content picked up the rights, the Vampire Chronicles series went to Hulu, which outbid several other outlets. Dee Johnson (Nashville) joined as showrunner in February 2019.
Paramount and Anonymous’ rights expired in late 2019, leading to the end of the project at Hulu and freeing Rice to shop the rights again. They landed at AMC Networks, with the Lives of the Mayfair Witches books also part of the package.
“AMC Studios is responsible for creating some of the most iconic television series of the modern era and has, at times, single-handedly defined this era we call ‘peak TV,'” said Christopher Rice. “All the members of Team Anne, including my long-term producing partner, New York Times best-selling novelist Eric Shaw Quinn, are both thrilled and comforted to know that some of our most cherished kin, from the vampire Lestat and the witch Rowan Mayfair, to the paranormal investigators at the Order of the Talamasca and the powerful spirit Lasher, are now safely in the hands of these vastly accomplished innovators who possess both global reach and deep reservoirs of experience.”
The rights to Anne Rice’s novels are the latest acquisition of a major piece of independently owned IP for AMC Networks. The company also has TV rights to Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead graphic novels, with the flagship drama The Walking Dead the most-watched series on cable TV. The company also owns a majority stake in Agatha Christie Limited via its Acorn TV streaming service.
Anne and Christopher Rice are repped by CAA, Jankow & Nesbit Associates and attorney Christine Cuddy. AMC was repped in the deal by Matt Galsor of Greenberg Glusker.
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