In 2003, Josh Schwartz at age 26 became the youngest series creator when Fox, then run by entertainment president Gail Berman, picked up his first pilot, The O.C. (That’s the two of them at The O.C. kickoff party in July 2003.)
Twelve years later, Schwartz and Berman have reunited for another drama project at Fox written by Schwartz. The network has given a put pilot commitment to Horrorstör, an hourlong dramedy inspired by the supernatural mystery novel by Grady Hendrix. Berman’s The Jackal Group and Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire are producing. ABC Studios, where Fake Empire is under an overall deal, is the studio.
Written by Schwartz and Black List screenwriter Michael Vukadinovich, Horrorstör centers on 26-year-old Amy. Newly sober, she lands a job at ORSK, the U.S. Flagship of the European furniture superstore. It feels like just the opportunity she’s needed to get her life back on track, but as Amy comes to discover, the store actually preys upon its customers’ desires to a supernatural degree, selling products that make their wishes and fantasies come true in unexpected and insidious ways.
The Jackal Group, Berman’s co-venture with Fox Networks Group, acquired Grady Hendrix’s novel — designed in the format of an Ikea-esque furniture catalog — last October. It was Oscar winner Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind), who brought the book to Berman’s attention. Berman then reached out to Schwartz and Savage, who came on board, along with ABC Studios. Schwartz, Berman, Savage and Kaufman are executive producing the project with David Borgenicht, CEO of Horrorstör publisher Quirk Books. Vukadinovich will co-executive produce. Hendrix will serve as a consultant.
Horrorstör marks Schwartz’s first time writing a series project since two scripts he co-wrote during the 2006-07 season, Gossip Girl at the CW (with Savage) and Chuck at NBC (with Chris Fedak), went to pilot and then to series that had memorable runs.
Fake Empire has ABC summer series Astronaut Wives Club, which was created by Savage, also adapted from a book. In features, the duo, repped by WME and attorney Joel McKuin, has a deal at Universal Pictures, where they are developing Monster High, based on Mattel’s billion dollar franchise.
Vukadinovich, who has landed 2 scripts on the Black List, The Secret Ingredients Of Rocket Cola and The Three Misfortunes Of Geppetto, is repped by Verve, Industry Entertainment and attorney Rob Goldman.