Duo scare up Fox deal

'Ring' producers 'Bound' to TV pact

“The Ring” producers Benderspink and Fox 21 are teaming up to develop the haunted house skein “Bound.”

Project, set up at Fox Broadcasting, is one of several in the works as part of Benderspink’s overall deal at Fox 21. Latter shingle — the low-cost production unit of 20th Century Fox TV headed by Jane Francis — is already on the map after barely a year in existence, co-producing the WB reality skein “Beauty and the Geek” and the Fox midseason comedy “Free Birds.”

“Bound” is a horror skein/family sudser about a family that moves into their dream house only to slowly discover that it’s their worst nightmare.

Mark Kruger (“Revelations”) is writing the script and will exec produce. Unscripted vet Gary Auerbach (“Laguna Beach”) is on board as an exec producer and is being eyed to direct the pilot should the project move forward.

Chris Bender, JC Spink and Benderspink TV prexy Julie Plec are also attached as exec producers.

Francis said the project “started with Chris Bender coming in to us and saying, ‘Can we do a family show in a haunted house?’ ” Despite the genre’s massive B.O. appeal, nets have had a hard time producing horror-themed skeins, especially those that aren’t anthologies.

Kruger was then brought in to help come up with a way to build a family soap around a haunted house theme, even tackling such questions as why the family wouldn’t just leave said house. Francis, looking to add a different feel to the show via a reality vet, then sought out Auerbach.

“One of our goals (at Fox 21) is bridging the worlds (of scripted and reality),” Francis said. “We wanted to meld those worlds into one package and come up with a different take on a horror show.”

Bender said the idea for “Bound” stemmed from “my incredible fear as a child of all things horror” as a result of “growing up in a house that looked like ‘The Amityville Horror’ house.”

“I thought there was an opportunity to scare the crap out of kids,” he said, adding that the “best horror takes place where people feel the most vulnerable.”

“Bound” is being developed for the 2006-07 season, with Fox giving the project a script commitment.

Through its Fox 21 deal, Benderspink’s TV division has also set up an animated comedy pilot presentation at the net from Chuck Swenson and Brian Lynch (Daily Variety, March 2).

Benderspink and Fox 21 have also signed writer deals with Andrea Berloff and Josh Heald.

Berloff, who’s writing a 9/11 pic for Universal, is working on a high-concept soap.

Heald, who did “All You Can Eat” for New Line, is planning a teen comedy.

Shingle is also in production (with Touchstone Television) on “Kyle XY,” a pilot for ABC Family, and the Comedy Central skein “Con.”

Benderspink started a TV division and tapped Plec (“Scream 2”) to run it last summer (Daily Variety, Sept. 9).

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