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WB Hopes to Hide in ’Dark Shadows’

Tuesday 3 February 2004, by Webmaster

WB Hopes to Hide in ’Dark Shadows’
(Monday, February 02 01:49 PM)
By Daniel Fienberg

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - If P.T. Barnum were looking over the history of The WB, he might note that a bloodsucker is born every minute. The WB is looking to sire a new vampire franchise, reportedly greenlighting a new version of the popular daytime serial "Dark Shadows," which first aired on ABC from 1966 to ’71. NBC resurrected the franchise for a short-lived primetime revival in ’91.

Original "Dark Shadows" creator Dan Curtis and "ER" and "West Wing" producer John Wells are the creative forces behind the WB update, along with Mark Verheiden ("Smallville"), who wrote the pilot.

Is there room for two vampires in The WB’s drama family? Joss Whedon’s "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" shared time on the network’s schedule for two seasons, before "Buffy" migrated to UPN. Since that time, the David Boreanaz supernatural private eye drama has had the monopoly on the network’s share of stakings, bloodlust and holy water aversion. Whedon is willing to share. Speaking with reporters at the semiannual Television Critics Association press tour, Whedon discussed making room for another ghoul in the WB crypt.

"There are a certain amount of things to say; there are innumerable people to say them," Whedon says. "I have created a world that is people be the actors I love, the characters that I care about, the themes I need to talk about, the writers who understand that. Somebody else is going to take that very ancient thing — the vampire — and do something completely different with it. It really doesn’t worry me."

Executives at The WB are also quick to distinguish between the shows.

"Anytime John Wells walks in the door and says he’s excited about wanting to do something differently ... I think that’s something you’re going to pay attention to," WB Co-CEO Jordan Levin says. "I think that two shows could co-exists. One is an action-adventure franchise and one is a very gothic soap opera."

It remains to be seen how many new high concept franchise-type dramas The WB is going to have room for next fall, particularly considering the failures of heavily promoted series like "Birds of Prey" and "Tarzan." In the fall, the network spend big money for the rights to develop a new version of "Lost in Space"

One thing that’s for sure is that even if this "Dark Shadows" remake never makes it to the air, there will always be undead yarns for The WB to unspool.

"Clearly, I’m the 97th guy to use the vampire metaphor to tell stories," Whedon jokes. "I have no problem with there being a 98th."