Spike hones ‘Blade’

Cabler stakes vampire skein with 13 hours

Spike TV is sinking its teeth into a small-screen adaptation of “Blade,” greenlighting 13 hours of the vampire drama from New Line TV.

“Batman Begins” scribe David Goyer, who also wrote the “Blade” trilogy, will exec produce alongside showrunner David Simkins, Marvel Entertainment principal Avi Arad and New Line’s Jim Rosenthal and Jon Kroll. Goyer penned the two-hour pilot with comics author Geoff Johns.

Spike is betting on “Blade” to define the men’s network just as “The Shield” put FX on the map. Net prexy Doug Herzog committed to the action hour just months after taking the helm of Spike (Daily Variety, May 4), hoping to make it the cabler’s premiere drama launch.

Kirk Sticky Jones (FX’s “Over There”) stars as the titular half-vampire warrior trying to save the human race from a demonic underworld. Jill Wagner, Neil Jackson, Nelson Lee and Jessica Gower also star. Peter O’Fallon directed the pilot.

Cabler shot the two-hour pilot — which will kick off the series as a movie event this June — late last year in Vancouver. Production on the remaining 11 episodes will begin this spring.

While there’s no word yet on how “Blade” will be worked into the schedule, it’s likely execs will use the forthcoming off-network launch of “The Shield” to promote — and possible pair with — its new original. Spike scooped up rights to “The Shield” last summer (Daily Variety, July 18) and will debut the cop drama in March.

Spike exec VP of programming Pancho Mansfield said Goyer “brought the quality of the ‘Blade’ films and the maturity of ‘Batman’ to this series.

“It delivers to the hardcore fans of the franchise, but it’s also got a lot of soul,” Mansfield said.

“Blade” also reps the first big drama series launch from New Line.

Despite the loss of WWE, Spike ended 2005 as the No. 5 cable net in the key 18-49 demo, up 26% from the year prior thanks to its arsenal of “CSI” repeats.

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