Maybe it was the buildup toward Back To the Future Day, but time travel became a favorite arena this development season, with some of the top creators and producers — Shawn Ryan & Eric Kripke, Phil Lord & Chris Miller and Kevin Williamson — tackling it with high profile projects. Ryan and Kripke’s drama Time came to market first in August, sparking a bidding war and landing a pilot production commitment at NBC. Williamson’s Time After Time, based on the 1979 novel by Karl Alexander, was taken out in September, selling to ABC. And then on the actual Back to the Future Day, Oct. 21, Fox closed a deal for a put pilot commitment to time-travel comedy In Time (now untitled), from Julius Sharpe, Lord and Miller.
Time and the Lord/Miller comedy have been ordered to pilot, joining the CW’s time-travel themed superhero team-up drama series Legends of Tomorrow. (To be thorough, we should probably also mention the newly greenlighted Comedy Central limited series Time Traveling Bong).
What does the spike in production orders for time-travel projects mean for Williamson’s Time After Time, especially with another project he has at the CW — a paranormal drama — heating up for a pilot order?
Time After Time, written/exec produced by Williamson, chronicles the epic adventures of young H.G. Wells and his Time Machine. (Time and the Lord/Miller comedy are both about a trio traveling through time.) I hear the studio behind Time After Time, Warner Bros. TV, has been high on it. It is among a dozen or so broadcast projects in development on which WBTV has made “if come” deals with casting directors in the event that they are picked up.
As for ABC, it’s hard to get a good read on the network as it’s been keeping pilot pickup decisions close to the vest though there hasn’t been much talk about Time After Time. It’s coming from an outside studio, WBTV, and has a script commitment with no or very little penalty, so ABC’s pickup decision may be influenced by the fact that they would be last to market in the time-travel arena. Still, with well known IP – the popular book also was adapted into a movie — and A-list showrunner, Williamson, ABC may decide to join the fray with its own time-travel effort.
While ABC is deliberating, Williamson may get a pilot order at the CW for a project that had flown under the radar. Written and executive produced by Williamson, I’ve learned that the untitled paranormal drama (aka Ghost), is set in New Orleans and centers on a young woman who seeks help from a parapsychologist when she begins to experience paranormal phenomena.
The script has been tracking strongly and is being tipped for a potential pilot order. At the CW, Williamson, along with Julie Plec, previously launched the successful Vampire Diaries franchise.