At the TCA upfronts this weekend, NBC announced plans to develop two well-known properties into miniseries:
“The Tommyknockers,” probably the Stephen King novel that most resembles King’s “Under The Dome,” is the tale of an extraterrestrial spacecraft discovered in a small Maine town. ABC already made it into a Jimmy Smits miniseries in 1993. Yves Simoneau (“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”) is set to direct the NBC version.
“Rosemary’s Baby,” from the novel by Ira Levin (“The Stepford Wives,” “The Boys From Brazil”), follows a young married couple who get involved with dirty satanists. Roman Polanski’s acclaimed adaptation hit cinemas in 1968. Scott Abbott (“Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,” “Winchell”) is scripting the NBC version.
The network is also developing two historial miniseries, one that would depict the life and career of pantsuit-loving presidential aspirant Hilary Clinton, the other about the first European residents of New England.
If you watch the ratings, miniseries make a lot of sense. Too often a series will get a premiere that garners solid ratings – but the series itself will bleed viewers quickly and only last a season (or less). If a channel runs miniseries all year, they get a lot more premieres than when they just greenlight 22-episode seasons of ongoing series. And if a miniseries does big business, sequels can always be ordered.