Fox is heading to Fantasy Island for the summer. The network has given a straight-to-series order to a contemporary version of the classic drama series. The project, from writer-producers Liz Craft and Sarah Fain (The 100), Sony Pictures TV and Gemstone Studios, will air next summer.
This marks the first green light for Gemstone Studios, Sony TV’s boutique label dedicated to premium independent production in a creative and efficient way. Gemstone and Sony TV will co-produce with Fox Entertainment.
Keeping the semi-anthological format of the original with a handful of main characters living on the island and new guests arriving in every episode, the new Fantasy Island, written and executive produced by Craft and Fain, delves into the “what if” questions that keep us awake at night. Each episode will tell emotional, provocative stories about people who walk in with a desire, but end up reborn to themselves through the magical realism of Fantasy Island.
“In continuing to develop outside of the traditional broadcast cycle, we’ve been particularly focused on providing viewers with summer series that offer a true escape from everyday life – to be sure, now so more than ever,” said Fox Entertainment President Michael Thorn. “Fantasy Island is a beloved program, and the world Liz and Sarah have created for this contemporary adaptation is signature Fox and a perfect show for today’s times. After all, who among us wouldn’t take a (safe) trip to Fantasy Island right now?”
The original Fantasy Island, created by Gene Levitt and executive produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg, ran on ABC from 1977-1984. It starred Ricardo Montalbán as the mysterious Mr. Roarke and Hervé Villechaize as his assistant Tattoo as they grant guests so-called “fantasies” on the island for a price.
Fantasy Island has been an important IP for Sony, which has revisited it multiple times, including the 1998 series revival starring Malcolm McDowell and Mädchen Amick, which aired on ABC, and a reboot, which was in development at ABC during the 2018-19 season. Additionally, Sony Pictures released a horror feature adaptation produced by Blumhouse earlier this year.
“Fantasy Island has always been one of our most popular and iconic series and when we heard Liz and Sarah’s vision of this world, we immediately knew they were onto something special,” said Jeff Frost, President, Sony Pictures Television, and Jason Clodfelter, Co-President, Sony Pictures Television. “We can’t think of better partners than Fox to work on this entirely novel take on this classic property — this is truly a wonderful and exciting way to launch our new venture, Gemstone Studios.”
Launched last year, Gemstone Studios is headed by Marie Jacobson.
Craft and Fain grew up together in Kansas City, MO. Craft attended Columbia University in New York and went on to work as an editor of young adult books. Fain attended Williams College, and then joined Teach for America, where she taught high school English and creative writing in rural North Carolina. Since teaming up as writing partners, they have worked on such series as Angel; The Shield; Women’s Murder Club, which they created based on the James Patterson novels; The Vampire Diaries; and Lie To Me. Craft and Fain also co-created ABC’s The Fix, with former Los Angeles prosecutor Marcia Clark. They co-host the weekly podcast Happier in Hollywood, which has more than five million downloads.