EXCLUSIVE: Syfy has greenlighted a pilot for The Magicians, an adaptation of Lev Grossman’s best-selling fantasy book trilogy. The pilot for the potential one-hour drama, from Universal Cable Productions, was written by John McNamara (Prime Suspect) and Sera Gamble (Supernatural). Michael London and Janice Williams are producing.
The books — the first of which was published in 2009 — revolve around a group of New York twentysomethings who, while studying magic, discover the fantasy world they read about as children is all too real and poses a grave danger to humanity. The trilogy — The Magicians, The Magician King, and The Magician’s Land — has been published in 22 countries.
This isn’t the first crack at the small screen for the books. In October 2011, a drama series adaptation was pre-emptively acquired by Fox — also produced by London, who had optioned the books. It had X-Men: First Class and Thor writers Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz aboard to do the writing but didn’t go forward. Grossman at the time wrote on his blog he was disappointed the project didn’t stick but that it would be shopped to cable networks.
London brought on McNamara and Gamble, Syfy acquired their new take and developed it further. We’re hearing the story starts earlier in the book series than the Fox project.
Magicians is the latest move indicating Syfy’s push with scripted series. It just finished casting its six-part event series Ascension, which premieres in November, and it has new series 12 Monkeys, The Killjoys and The Expanse on tap for 2015.