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Dark Horse and Universal Cable Productions Sign First-Look Deal for Comics-Based Shows

Dark Horse Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions have signed a first-look deal to develop and produce scripted programming based on Dark Horse’s expansive comic book library, along with new properties, the two companies announced Tuesday.

“Dark Horse Entertainment has an incredible roster of fantastical, witty and mind bending stories,” said Dawn Olmstead, exec VP of development, Universal Cable Productions. “Their brand has conquered multiple media platforms and boasts iconic books that have attracted the highest level of writers. It’s going to be a wild and imaginative ride.”

“As the landscape of narrative storytelling evolves, Dark Horse is thrilled to be working in the golden age of television with Universal Cable Productions. Their creative team has embraced the spirit of the Dark Horse brand and we’re proud to be partnered with them,” added Dark Horse president and founder Mike Richardson.

Among the projects currently in development under the deal are “Harrow County,” “The Umbrella Academy,” “Back Up” and “Concrete.”

In “Harrow County,” based on the book written by Cullen Bunn (“The Damned,” “The Sixth Gun”) and illustrated by Tyler Crook (“Bad Blood”), Emmy has always known that the deep, dark woods surrounding her home crawled with ghosts, goblins and the restless dead. On the eve of her 18th birthday, she learns that she is connected to these creatures and to the land itself in a way she never imagined, for she is the reincarnation of a powerful witch who was put to death on the very day Emmy was born. For this reason, the townsfolk mean to kill her too. In order to survive, Emmy must embrace the unusual powers at her command.

Created by “My Chemical Romance” frontman Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba (“Daytripper”), “The Umbrella Academy” follows the estranged members of the Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers, who must figure out how to work together to save the world nine years after parting ways. Bluegrass films is also attached to executive produce.

In the near future of “Back Up,” a new technology allows people to be backed up the same way we now back up our computers — but instead of protecting against drive failure, these backups protect against death. This project is based on a feature script by Tom Vaughn. Kenny Golde is set to write and executive produce, with Brad Anderson (“Zoo,” “Almost Human”) in negotiations to direct. Jim Wedaa is also attached to exec produce.

In “Concrete,” after his subconscious is transplanted into a hulking stone body, Ronald Lithgow must come to terms with his new form and try to live a normal life. The project is based on the Eisner award-winning title by Paul Chadwick.

Upcoming genre, fantasy and sci-fi projects from UCP include Syfy’s “Childhood’s End,” an adaptation of the Arthur C. Clarke novel starring Charles Dance, Mike Vogel and Julian McMahon; “Brave New World,” based on Aldous Huxley’s novel and developed alongside Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television; “The Magicians,” based on Lev Grossman’s trilogy of novels; Wes Craven’s “The People Under The Stairs,” based on the 1991 film; and “We Are All Completely Fine,” based on the book by Daryl Gregory. UCP is also producing thriller pilot “Falling Water” for USA Network from exec producers Gale Anne Hurd (“The Walking Dead”) of Valhalla Entertainment, Blake Masters (“2 Guns”) and the late Henry Bromell (“Homeland”).

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