AMC Networks at TCA: Behind the Monsters, Anne Rice's Lives of the Mayfair Witches, & More!

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AMC Networks made some big announcements during its turn at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Tuesday.

AMC Studios today announced it will open a writers’ room to explore a potential new series based on Anne Rice’s Lives of the Mayfair Witches for AMC+ and AMC.

This would be the second series in an expanding Anne Rice universe, following the recent greenlight of Interview with the Vampire, set for a 2022 premiere.

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Esta Spaulding (Masters of Sex, On Becoming a God in Central Florida) and Michelle Ashford (Masters of Sex, The Pacific,John Adams) are both on as writers and executive producers of the series, Spaulding, who has an overall deal with AMC Studios, would serve as showrunner if the series was greenlit.

The series will 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.

Anne Rice

In a major acquisition last year, AMC Networks acquired the rights to Rice’s iconic works, encompassing 18 titles, including the Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches series, which have delighted fans worldwide.

Acclaimed and award-winning film and television producer Mark Johnson (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul,Halt and Catch Fire, Rectify), who also has an overall agreement with AMC Studios, is taking the lead on developing the full Anne Rice collection 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.”

Also in the works at AMC Studios is the potential series Demascus.

The half-hour series is executive produced by Mark Johnson’s Gran Via Productions (Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad) and created by accomplished writer and playwright Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm “Boomerang).

The project is being developed as part of AMC’s “scripts-to-series” model, which opens writers’ rooms to develop prospective series that, in success, move straight-to- series.

An irreverent, comedic sci-fi series, Demascus 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.

The series is a comedic genre-fluid coming-of-age story with a reality-bending premise that explores the gulf between Black male perspectives while also attempting to answer Demascus’ personal question: “Who am I?”

Potential new series Invitation to a Bonfire is also getting the same treatment. 

From creator and executive producer Rachel Caris Love (Physical, Circe, Moonfall, Blindspot), the hour-long series is based on the novel of the same name by Adrienne Celt and inspired by the famed Nabokov marriage.

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Invitation to a Bonfire is a taut psychological thriller set at an all-girls boarding school in New Jersey during the 1930s.

The series 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.

Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streamer for horror, thriller and the supernatural, announced today the new original docu-series Behind the Monsters, which takes a deep dive on cinematic horror icons.

Each of the series’ six episodes will focus on a single horror character, including Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Candyman, Chucky, and Pinhead, and feature interviews with horror experts and the writers, directors and actors from the original films that made each character the stuff of genre legends.

Written and directed by Gabrielle Binkley and Anthony Uro and produced by Stage 3 Productions, Behind the Monsters debuts on Shudder on Tuesday October 26 with episodes rolling out weekly.

“In the history of film, only a handful of stars and characters like Mickey Mouse or Marilyn Monroe have risen to the heights of fame to become instantly recognizable the world over," said Craig Engler, Shudder’s general manager.

"Yet somehow, a small group of monsters who got their start in low-budget horror movies have transcended their humble beginnings to become international pop culture icons."

"Behind the Monsters will tell the story of their unlikely rise to fame, from the ideas that inspired them to the indelible mark they’ve left on the world."

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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