AMC Opens Writers Rooms for Three Series, Including Anne Rice’s ‘Lives of the Mayfair Witches’
AMC has opened writers’ rooms for three new series under their script-to-series model, including one based on the Anne Rice novel series “Lives of the Mayfair Witches.”
The potential series would focus on an intuitive young neurosurgeon who discovers that she is the unlikely heir to a family of witches. As she grapples with her newfound powers, she must contend with a sinister presence that has haunted her family for generations.
Esta Spaulding and Michelle Ashford are both writers and executive producers on the series. Spaulding, who has an overall deal with AMC Studios, would serve as showrunner if the series was greenlit. This is the second series based on one of Rice’s books to officially go into development at AMC. The cabler previously greenlit a series based on “Interview With the Vampire,” with Sam Reid recently being cast in the lead role of Lestat.
Variety exclusively reported last year that AMC had acquired the rights to Rice’s book series “The Vampire Chronicles” and “The Lives of the Mayfair Witches,” comprising 18 titles in total. Mark Johnson, who also has an overall deal with AMC Studios, is overseeing the development of the books into a streaming and television universe.
“We have an enormous amount of ambition for these iconic works, which have captivated and entertained millions of fans around the world, so it is gratifying to be moving so quickly from the ‘Interview’ greenlight to exploring a second series with such talented and accomplished writers and creators as Esta and Michelle,” said Dan McDermott, president of original programming for AMC Networks and AMC Studios. “We take our responsibility to deliver compelling television to both existing and new fans of this material incredibly seriously, as we move deliberately to develop these titles into a new franchise and universe for AMC+ and AMC.”
AMC is also opening a writers’ room for a series based on the Adrienne Celt novel “Invitation to a Bonfire.” The series is described as a psychological thriller set at an all-girls boarding school in New Jersey during the 1930s. It follows Zoya, a naïve Russian groundskeeper, who becomes obsessed with the school’s newest faculty member, an enigmatic novelist, and is drawn into a lethal love triangle with him and his bewitching wife. Rachel Caris Love will write and executive produce the adaptation.
“Based on an exquisitely crafted novel, we’re excited to put this gripping story of love, loss, and identity into a writers’ room,” said McDermott. “With a brilliant visionary like Rachel driving this effort, we look forward to exploring these complicated, captivating characters and seeing how a potential series takes shape.”
Finally, AMC is opening a writers’ room for the half-hour series “Demascus.” Described as a comedic sci-fi series, the show follows Demascus, a 33-year-old Black man on a mission of self-discovery and the burgeoning field of digital psychiatry that may be the key to defining his truest self. Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm will writer the series, with Johnson’s Gran Via Productions executive producing.
“The universal question of ‘who am I?’ is taken to the next level in this exciting and innovative project from Tearrance Chisholm and Gran Via Productions,” said McDermott. “We’re thrilled to give Tearrance the opportunity to explore this visionary project and further develop Demascus’ heartfelt story in the writers’ room, and obviously our long history of successful collaborations with Mark Johnson add another layer of excitement and anticipation to this development.”
The WGA has criticized the use of such mini-writers’ rooms in the past, saying that writers could make less for multiple scripts than they could for one full pilot script. Meredith Stiehm, the incoming president of the WGA West, has said that the proliferation of such rooms is a major issue for the guild to address.
Variety's Joe Otterson contributed to this post.