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Universal’s Cable Arm Picks Up Remender & Dwyer’s ‘Night Mary’, Barbiere & Mooneyham’s ‘Five Ghosts’ And Original Series By Warren Ellis


Universal Cable Productions, the cable and digital arm of NBCUniversal, announced three new projects rooted in the comic book realm, including what will be Planetary and Transmetropolitan writer Warren Ellis’ first original series developed especially for television. Additionally, UCP optioned Night Mary, a 2005 IDW drama by Rick Remender and Kieron Dwyer about a young woman trained to enter the dreams of serial killers; and Five Ghosts, the recent critical hit from Image Comics/Black Mask Studios and creators Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham, who tell the story of Fabian Gray, a 1930s adventurer possessed by the spirits of five literary ghosts — Merlin, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Miyamoto Musashi, and Dracula. Five Ghosts began as a miniseries but its success resulted in an upgrade to ongoing, and now, it seems, an “upgrade” (because comics are the best, obviously) to television.

There’s no information about the Ellis project, but he’s working on it with producer Gale Ann Hurd, best known for numerous films with James Cameron as well as The Walking Dead.

The complete press release:

Universal City, Calif. – July 23, 2014 – As Comic-Con International 2014 #CCSD kicks off in San Diego, Universal Cable Productions (UCP) today announced three new deals that will bolster UCP’s genre library and generate excitement among comic book enthusiasts. UCP has signed award-winning graphic novel writer Warren Ellis (New York Times best-seller “Gun Machine”, and “Iron Man: Extremis” - the Marvel Comics graphic novel and basis for “Iron Man 3”) to develop Ellis’ first original TV series in collaboration with Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment (“The Walking Dead”, “Terminator”).

Additionally, UCP and IDW Entertainment have optioned the horror comic book “Night Mary” with the intent to co-develop it as a live action TV series. UCP has also optioned the Kickstarter funded, breakout hit “Five Ghosts” written by Frank Barbiere andChris Mooneyham from Black Mask Studios to develop it as an original TV series.

“We love genre at UCP and thankfully so do audiences. We’ve made it a priority to seek out great properties that will attract equally great creators to adapt them,” said Dawn Olmstead, Executive Vice President, Development, Universal Cable Productions.  “From Warren’s dynamic plots and complex characters to the dark and suspenseful world of ‘Night Mary,’ and the creative mash-up of five literary icons in the cult hit ‘Five Ghosts,’ they are all provocative, distinctive and have the promise to be a whole lot of fun.”

Based on the acclaimed IDW Publishing property created by Rick Remender and Kieron Dwyer, “Night Mary” follows a young woman trained to be a lucid dreamer. Her father owns a sleep disorder clinic where she enters the dreams of his patients. When a patient is revealed to be a serial killer, she is placed in jeopardy as nightmares and reality become frighteningly intertwined. John Pogue (“The Quiet Ones”) has been tapped to write and direct the pilot. Ted Adams and David Ozer from IDW Entertainment and David Alpert and Rick Jacobs from Circle of Confusion (“The Walking Dead”) will serve as executive producers along with John Pogue.

“Five Ghosts” is the stylish, pulpy adventure by Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham that tells the story of a 1930s-era treasure hunter possessed by five literary ghosts (Merlin, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Musashi, and Dracula) whose unique abilities he can draw on during his adventures. “Five Ghosts” was funded on Kickstarter in 2012 and previewed at San Diego Comic Con that year when Matt Pizzolo (who would later co-found Black Mask Studios) shared his San Diego Comic Con table with then-unknown writer Frank Barbiere. “Five Ghosts” was picked up by Image Comics and premiered at Emerald City Comic Con becoming one of the breakout hits of 2013. UCP has optioned the TV series rights from Black Mask and has signed on Evan Daugherty (“Snow White And The Huntsmen”, “Divergent”) to write the pilot and serve as executive producer. Chris Bender andJake Weiner from Benderspink (“Horrible Bosses 2”, “The Hangover”) will also serve as executive producers along with Jake Wagner as producer, and Matt Pizzolo and Brett Gurewitz as co-executive producers.

UCP’s currently untitled Warren Ellis project with Valhalla Entertainment marks the renowned writer’s first foray into television.  “I’ve been strongly drawn to television over the last few years, and working with brilliant and determined collaborators like Gale and the UCP team, I’m delighted at the opportunity to add my voice to the new, novelistic TV form that’s evolved so dramatically,” said Ellis.

“There are very few writers who have been able to so completely influence a medium as Warren has with comic books. I am very excited to be able to collaborate in bringing his unique vision to television for the first time,” added Hurd.

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