Hulu has placed a direct-to-series order for “11/22/63,” a nine-hour adaptation of Stephen King’s time-travel novel about the Kennedy assassination, from J.J. Abrams and Warner Bros. Television.
The miniseries, based on King’s best-selling 2011 novel published by Simon & Schuster imprint Scribner, follows high school English teacher Jake Epping, who travels back in time to try to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on the fateful date in American history.
A premiere date for “11/22/63,” to be released as nine hour-long episodes, has not been set. Meanwhile, Hulu has not determined whether it will make the full series available exclusively to Hulu Plus subscribers, or whether some episodes will be free on Hulu.com.
Executive producers are King, Abrams through his Bad Robot Prods. (“Person of Interest,” “Fringe,” “Lost”), Bridget Carpenter and Bryan Burk. Carpenter will write the teleplay. Bad Robot’s Kathy Lingg is co-executive producer, and Athena Wickham is producer.
In announcing the pact, Stephen King said: “If I ever wrote a book that cries out for long-form, event-TV programming, ‘11/22/63’ is it. I’m excited that it’s going to happen, and am looking forward to working with J.J. Abrams and the whole Bad Robot team.”
The deal marks first original programming collaboration between Hulu and WBTV. Hulu will be the U.S. home for “11/22/63,” and Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution will distribute “11/22/63″ for the rest of the world.
The “11/22/63″ project for Hulu is a limited “event series,” but there will be opportunities for future subsequent seasons based on the story. Hulu’s pickup of “11/22/63″ stands to be a critical component in the streaming service’s ability to attract subscribers with high-profile originals, as it vies with the likes of Netflix and Amazon.com.
“J.J. Abrams and Stephen King are two of the most celebrated storytellers of our time, and we are excited to be working with them and Warner Bros. Television to bring this unique take on one of the most seminal historic events of the 20th century to Hulu,” Craig Erwich, Hulu’s SVP and head of content, said in a statement. “’11/22/63′ already resonated with audiences as a best-selling novel, and we are looking forward to bringing the riveting story to the screen.”
Erwich, prior to joining Hulu in April 2014, had overseen Warner Horizon Television development, production and business operations.
Stephen King has published more than 50 books over a career spanning four decades, which have been adapted for movies and TV series more than 50 times. Repped by Paradigm, King is currently an executive producer of CBS series “Under the Dome,” based on his novel of the same name.
Filmmaker and producer J.J. Abrams is currently writing, producing and directing Disney’s “Star Wars: Episode VII,” slated for 2015 release, as well as producing the next installments of the “Mission: Impossible” and “Star Trek” movie franchises. “I’ve been a fan of Stephen King since I was in junior high school,” Abrams said in a statement. “The chance to work with him at all, let alone on a story so compelling, emotional and imaginative, is a dream.”
Carpenter’s TV credits include writing/executive producing Sundance Channel’s “The Red Road,” writing/co-executive producing NBC’s “Parenthood” and “Friday Night Lights,” and writing/co-producing Showtime’s “Dead Like Me.” She called Stephen King “one of my literary heroes” and said creating the miniseries is “a dream come true. My dad, a lifelong Stephen King fanatic, still cannot believe it.”
Hulu is owned by 21st Century Fox, Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Disney.