A new version of the HBO late-night anthology series will lead a new two-hour block of terror and suspense-themed programming for TNT, which will be curated by the Oscar-nominated writer-director. Plots for “Tales from the Crypt” will be based on William Gaines’s original EC Comics along with new stories. It will not be based on the long-running HBO series.
“It is an umbrella for what hopefully will be many shows,” TNT president Kevin Reilly said during his executive session at Television Critics Association on Thursday in Pasadena, Calif. “We’re going to put a variety of different genre shows, some of which may have a weird sense of humor, some of which may be actually downright frightening, some of which may be a unique blend of genres, but all united under the ‘Tales From the Crypt’ brand. Night is definitely going to direct, most likely the first one, and we’ll see how that evolves.”
The block will also feature short and long-form storytelling executive-produced by Shyamalan and his partner at Binding Edge Pictures, Ashwin Rajan. Reilly said TNT has “about four properties in the development pipeline to move through this.”
He said the “Tales from the Crypt” episodes will be an hour each. Additional series will be added in the coming months.
“This … horror block demonstrates not only TNT’s commitment to working with today’s top talents, but also our strategy to stand out in today’s marketplace by challenging the conventional rules of programming and scheduling,” Sarah Aubrey, TNT’s EVP of original programming, said in a statement.
Shyamalan, who is also an exec producer on the Fox mystery series “Wayward Pines,” which recently received a second season order, said in a statement that “to be part of such a beloved brand like ‘Tales from the Crypt,’ something I grew up watching, and to also have the chance to push the boundaries of genre television as a whole, is an inspiring opportunity that I can’t wait to dive into,” he said.
“Tales from the Crypt” aired for seven seasons on HBO starting in June 1989. Introduced by a skeletal “crypt keeper” puppet, the series’ late-night timeslot and its position on the dial allowed it to push the violence and sexuality envelopes. Reilly told journalists at TCA that he does have a crypt keeper in mind for his project, but “we’ll save that for a later announcement.”
In addition to Shyamalan and Rajan, James D. Stern is executive-producing “Tales from the Crypt” with his company Endgame Entertainment, along with Aloris Entertainment’s John Santilli and Dan McKinnon.
“I am delighted to reinvent this wonderful series through TNT and behind the brilliance of M. Night,” said Stern. “It was one of my favorite shows and I look forward to it reaching a whole new audience.”
TNT’s new horror block will premiere in fall 2016.