Pay cabler, DreamWorks TV to develop and adapt thriller

Showtime has teamed with Stephen King, Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks TV to develop a series based on King’s supernatural thriller “Under the Dome.”

DreamWorks TV optioned the book shortly after its release in 2009 and has been developing it with King as an event series for cable (Daily Variety, Nov. 19, 2009). Story revolves around the battles that erupt among the locals at a Maine vacation spot when an invisible force field suddenly surrounds the town.

With Showtime now on board, the search will begin for a writer to adapt King’s 1,000-plus page tome.

DreamWorks principal Stacey Snider was key in helping DreamWorks snap up the TV rights to the book. DreamWorks TV chiefs Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank have been nurturing the project with Spielberg since then.

Spielberg and King have worked together in the past, developing a screen adaptation of King’s 1984 novel “The Talisman,” on which Spielberg has had the option for more than 20 years. That project has been developed as a feature, and it came close to being done as a mini for TNT a few years ago until it was tabled for budgetary reasons.

The “Dome” deal continues a burst of activity on the smallscreen side for DreamWorks TV. The company runs like a boutique — albeit one that brings the clout of Spielberg’s ideas and talent connections — under the direction of longtime heads Falvey and Frank.

DreamWorks scored a summer hit on TNT with the sci-fi drama “Falling Skies.” It also has three big bets teed up for the broadcast nets in the coming season: Fox’s “Terra Nova,” NBC’s “Smash” and ABC’s “The River.” And its Showtime costume drama “The Borgias” is on its way back for a second season next year.

Falvey, Frank and King will exec produce. Others may be named later. DreamWorks TV is repped by WME.

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