TV Surf Report: Orders for Adaptations Continue Hot Trend This Script Development Season


(Updated 04 April 2016)

Santa Monica, CA — Hollywood loves a good book, a hot play, re-boot, re-make, dark comic, hit song, magazine article, standup comedy routine, web series , and music video.

It’s not that Tinseltown doesn’t love original stories anymore, it’s just they crave some sort of name recognition, pre-sold titles that have marketing value.

While original ideas are still one way to sell something, Adaptations are the hot trend this Pilot Season as Networks and Digital Platforms are scooping them up.  In fact, there are so many, this blog entry is a continuation of Part One (see Aug. 17th entry — the list is long!).

Here are the latest purchases:


  • Sharp Objects, the novel by Gillian Flynn, gets adapted for HBO.
  • The Tick gets a re-boot at Amazon.
  • Maniac, a Norwegian series, gets re-made at Netflix.
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley gets adapted by Neil Cross (Luther).
  • Heathers gets adapted at TV Land.
  • The First Wives Club ordered to pilot at TV Land.
  • Red Mars, the Kim Stanley Robinson trilogy, is on hold at Spike.
  • Stephen King’s The Mist at Spike.
  • The Terror at AMC.  Ridley Scott exec produces.
  • The Von Bulow Affair at NBC.
  • A.P.B. at Fox. Len Wiseman (Underworld) exec produces this adaptation of NY Times story, Who Runs The Streets of New Orleans.
  • Girl Boss at Netflix is an adaptation of Sophia Amoruso’s popular autobiography about her life going from dumpster diving to becoming a hipster retailer.  Charlize Theron and Kay Cannon produce.
  • Chance at Hulu is an adaptation of the Kem Nunn novel about a forensic neuropsychiatrist to be played by Hugh Laurie.  Brian Grazer produces.
  • Watergate at ABC is an adaptation of John Dean’s book, The Nixon Defense as well as Alden Duer Cohen’s The Women of Watergate.
  • Superior Donuts at CBS is an adaptation of Tracey Letts’ play.
  • Feed the Beast at AMC is an adaptation of the Danish series Bankerot.
  • Still Star-Crossed at ABC is an adaptation of the 2013 book by Melinda Taub that picks up with the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets after R&J.
  • Big Dead Place at HBO is an adaptation of the Nicholas Johnson memoir, a 21st century survivalist tale set in Antartica.
  • Dead Man Walking at CBS is an adaptation of Stefan Petrucha’s zombie bestseller.
  • Upper Middle Bogan at CBS is an adaptation of the Aussie series.
  • Eye Witness at USA is an adaptation of the Norwegian series Oyevitne.
  • El Malefico at Starz is an adaptation of a Mexican telenovela about a powerful businessman who makes a pact with The Devil.
  • Pour Vida at Starz is an adaptation of a short story about twin sisters who open a wine bar in East LA.  Half-hour dramedy ensues!
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency at BBC America is an adaptation of Douglas Adams’ series of novels about a highly conventional detective’s surreal adventures.
  • The Son at AMC is an adaptation of Philipp Meyer’s book about America’s birth as a super power told through the rise and fall of multi-generations of a Texas oil empire.
  • The Interestings at Amazon is an adaptation of the Meg Wolitzer bestseller about a group of friends who met in the ’70s at camp.
  • Mindhunter at Netflix is adaptation of an investigators 25-year career tracking down serial killers.  David Fincher to direct.  Charlize Theron executive produces.
  • Howards End at BBC-1 is adaptation of the E.M. Forster novel by Kenneth Lonergan.
  • All the Way at HBO is an adaptation of Robert Schenkkan’s play about LBJ.  Bryan Cranston to reprise his Tony-winning role.
  • Big Little Lies at HBO is a limited series adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s novel about three mothers of kindergartners whose perfect lives unravel.  David E. Kelley scripts the sudser starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern.
  • American Lion at HBO is a 6-hour miniseries adaptation biopic starring Sean Penn as Andrew Jackson.
  • My Time/Your Time at CBS is adapted from a web series that chronicles the relationship of a young couple who date long distance.
  • Let’s Pretend This Never Happened at ABC is based on Jenny Lawson’s book about a woman who returns to her hometown in Texas and to her eccentric family.
  • Hawaiian Dick at NBC is an adaptation of the graphic novel by B. Clay Moore & Steven Griffin.  Johnny Knoxville is attached to star as a stateside cop exiled to Hawaii.
  • The Last Tycoon at Amazon is an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final unfinished novel based on Irving Thalberg, Hollywood’s first wunderkind studio mogul in the 1930s.  Matt Bomer stars in the pilot.
  • The Beautiful Bureaucrat at The CW is an adaptation of Helen Phillips’ novel about a female data entry clerk who uncovers nefarious doings.  Neal Baer executive produces.
  • Merc City is a spin-off of the Riddick film series starring Vin Diesel. Smartly, Diesel acquired the rights to the franchise from Universal and his company,  One Road Films, is shopping the series about Mercs and Bounty Hunters in the Riddick universe.
  • The Rook at Hulu is a Stephanie Meyer adaptation of Daniel O’Malley’s novel about a female Brit investigator of the paranormal which includes sexy vampires.
  • The Expendables at Fox gets a TV adaptation about washed up action heroes.  Sylvester Stallone executive produces.
  • Pair of Aces at ABC is an adaptation of a Vogue profile of Texas twins, both politicos.  Eva Longoria executive produces along with Dawn Ostroff of Conde Nast.
  • Tokyo Underworld at Amazon is based on Robert Whiting’s book.
  • “F” is For Family at Netflix has a 6-episode order for this animated comedy based on the standup comedy of Bill Burr.  Vince Vaughn exec produces.  Laura Dern and Justin Long lead the voiceover cast.
  • Darkover at Amazon is an adaptation of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s 25-book fantasy/sci-fi series set on the exotic planet of Darkover.
  • Collision at NBC is an American adaptation of the UK/ITV drama about a group of strangers whose lives are changed after a major roadside accident.
  • Dead Mann Walking at CBS is an adaptation of Stefan Petrucha’s best-selling book about a Zombie Cop.  Ugh.
  • Heaven is For Real at NBC continues the network’s search for a faith-based series.  Here, the Peacock looks to adapt this hit film, which itself is based on a series of books, about a small-town pastor whose son has an after-life experience that gains international attention.
  • His Dark Materials at BBC-One has 8 episodes to tell the coming-of-age story by Philip Pullman about two Oxford kids living in parallel universes.  Spirit Animals will be hard to pull off.
  • Star Trek at CBS has received a series order for a new chapter in the series history from Alex Kurtzman (Limitless).  Series will premiere on CBS then stream via CBS All Access, a first.
  • Midnight, Texas at NBC is an adaptation of Charlaine Harris’ novels set in a creepy Texas town.
  • Tiny Little Things at HBO is an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s compilations of essays from her advice column and centers on a Portland family living a truthful life.  Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern executive produce.
  • The A Word at BBC-1 is an adaptation of the Israeli series, Pilpelim Tsehubim, about a family learning to deal with Autism.  Christopher Eccleston stars.
  • All of Me, an old chestnut of a film starring Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin as a ghost who takes over his body, gets the re-make treatment at NBC.
  • Amazing Stories, Steven Spielberg’s anthology series, gets the re-boot at NBC courtesy of Bryan Fuller (Hannibal).
  • Cruel Intentions at NBC is a follow-up to the 1999 film from Roger Kumble who returns to script the series for Sony TV which picks ups with a 16-year-old next gen prepster.
  • Think Like A Man at Fox is an adaptation of the hit Steve Harvey films/books told from four POVs of the battle of the sexes: newly married, divorced, hooking up, and moving in.
  • Gilmore Girls at Netflix is Amy Sherman-Palladino’s redemptive followup to her beloved series with Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel who return for four 90-minute telefilms.
  • My Best Friend’s Wedding: The Sequel at ABC picks up where the hit 1997 PJ Hogan film ended with a food critic and her gay best friend returning to NYC.  Screenwriter Ron Bass and Producers Jerry & Janet Zucker return for this half-hour comedy.
  • Black Stiletto at ABC is an adaptation of the Raymond Benson novels about a young woman  who becomes a modern-day Hero.  Mila Kunis executive produces.  Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost) pens.
  • Famous in Love at ABC-Family (now called, Freeform….ugh) is an adaptation of Rebecca Serle’s romantic novel about a young female coed who gets her big break starring in a Hollywood blockbuster.  Marlene King (Pretty Little Liars) executive produces and co-writes.  Miguel Arteta directs.  Bella Thorne stars in this pilot order.


  • The Hellfire Club at Fox is the series adaptation of X-Men exploring the world of the villains from the comic that were last seen in X-Men: First Class.  Evan Katz & Manny Coto executive produce.
  • Two Black Cadillacs at Fox is an adaptation of the hit Carrie Underwood song.
  • Legion at FX is the latest move by the Fox Corp. to exploit its sole Marvel property, X-Men.  Herein, Xavier’s son comes into his powers as a telepath.
  • Are Men Necessary? at HBO is based on Maureen Dowd’s book about modern relationships and stars comedian Whitney Cummings.


  • Sugar at NBC is a reality pilot based on Maroon 5’s popular video where Adam Levine shows up at a superfan’s life event and becomes their houseband for an evening.
  • H.R. Pufnstuf at Nickelodeon gets an update from the popular ’70s kid morning show from Sid & Marty Kroft.
  • Brave New World at Syfy is an adaptation of the Aldous Huxley classic.
  • Hanzel & Gretel isn’t set up at a network yet, but Paramount & MGM have switched plans to make a sequel to the surprise hit film and instead produce for Cable.  Gary Sanchez produces.


Up Next:  The best Original Pilot Script Orders (according to me)….don’t miss it!

About Surfing Hollywood

Steve La Rue is an internationally recognized leader in Film & Television with 20+ years experience as a Development Executive championing such series as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Battlestar Galactica, and Farscape. He writes, blogs, and consults on All Things Entertainment from his home at the beach in Santa Monica, CA, where he balances his life by surfing every damn day.
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4 Responses to TV Surf Report: Orders for Adaptations Continue Hot Trend This Script Development Season

  1. Thanks for the mention, but you’re incorrect about the “gender” of The Black Stiletto books–they are and were always about a woman.


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