EXCLUSIVE: Back when Chris Albrecht took the reins of Starz as CEO more than a year ago, he said that the programming focus of the pay cable network will be on original series and big event miniseries/limited series. With nothing in the pipeline in the big event arena, Albrecht picked up the eight-part miniseries Pillars of the Earth. Now Starz may be ready to roll out its first original limited series, an adaptation of Dean Koontz’ 1985 novel Twilight Eyes. The project, which centers on Slim MacKenzie, who uses his psychic powers, aka Twilight Eyes, to hunt Goblins — monsters that have the ability to mimic human beings — is in high-priority development.
Koontz has shied away from TV in the past few years and no book of his has been adapted to the small screen in a decade. His former agent at WMA, Rob Lee, now head of his own production company Bayonne Entertainment, remembered Koontz once talking about Twilight Eyes as a potential miniseries. But Koontz wanted a longer treatment — 6-8 hours, something the broadcast networks, the primary longform buyers in the 1990s, were not interested in. Lee teamed with writer Stephen Tolkin, who had adapted two Koontz novels as TV movies, 1997’s Intensity and 1998’s Mr. Murder. The two pitched the idea for a Twilight Eyes limited series to Koontz, and he gave them their blessing. To stay true to the book, which Lee described as “quite violent and sensual,” he decided to go to premium cable and pitched the project to Starz, which picked it up with a premium development deal. (Lee has a relationship with Albrecht and briefly worked under him at IMG.) While the events in the book take place even before the 1980s, the adaptation will be set in present day. Koontz, who is involved in the development process, is executive producing with Lee and Tolkin, who is writing the script. On the feature side, an adaptation of Koontz’s Old Thomas written and to be directed by Stephen Sommers, is in pre-production with Tim Robbins, William Dafoe and Anton Yelchin starring.