Former Brat Packer Andrew McCarthy and Academy Award nominees Diane Ladd and Bruce Davison have scrubbed into ABC’s 15-hour series “Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital.”
The skein bows Thursday, Feb. 5 — the first night of sweeps — at 9 p.m. with a two-hour premiere. The hour-long thriller, from Sony Pictures TV and Touchstone TV, will continue in that slot in subsequent weeks.
King has already written all 15 hours of the series, which is based on the Danish miniseries “Riget” (“The Kingdom”) from Lars Von Trier.
“Kingdom Hospital” revolves around a bizarre hospital where patients and staff have chosen to ignore tell-tale signs of mysticism and unseen powers. King describes the project as a cross between “ER” and his own “The Shining.”
McCarthy (“Pretty in Pink”) will take residency as Dr. Hook, a surgeon who lives in the hospital basement and collects medical equipment. Ladd (“Rambling Rose”), meanwhile, plays psychic hypochondriac Mrs. Druse, a regular in Kingdom Hospital’s emergency room.
Then there’s Davison (“X2: X-Men United”), who will star as Dr. Stegman, an arrogant, inept physician.
ABC movies and minis topper Quinn Taylor called it a coup to land three such well-known names for “Kingdom Hospital.”
“When we saw the auditions of these three actors, we all got chills,” Taylor said. “There were no other people for the part. Looking at their resumes, we’re ecstatic.
Sony Pictures Television programming chief Russ Krasnoff said King has been involved in the casting process, attending casting sessions in New York. Exec said “Kingdom Hospital” was a good example of Sony’s near-boutique style approach to network primetime development.
King is king
“This project is a great business for us,” he said. “Stephen King’s got a worldwide appeal. He’s a brand unto himself.”
Krasnoff also said King and the other producers were treating “Kingdom Hospital” as a series and thus looked for actors who would get auds to return over the long haul.
“So much of a TV series is creating a relationship between viewers and characters,” he said. “We were focused on how we could really hit it out of the park (with casting.)”
And with the entire series’ scripts in the can, the “Kingdom Hospital” thesps will also have the unusual luxury of learning where their characters are headed.
All three thesps have options to return for a second season, ratings willing.
McCarthy, who’s repped by Innovative, most recently appeared in USA’s hit drama “Monk”; he’ll also star in the upcoming feature “Anything but Love.” Ladd, repped by Elizabeth Fowler and the Chasin Agency, appeared in “Primary Colors” and the Showtime telepic “Daddy and Them.”
Gersh-repped Davison will star in the upcoming “Runaway Jury”; his resume includes turns on films such as “Longtime Companion.”
Production on “Kingdom Hospital” begins Aug. 11 in Vancouver. King and Mark Carliner exec produce, while Craig Baxley will direct.
(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)