Bad Robot in Talks to Adapt Stephen King’s ’11/22/63′ for TV

Published 2 years ago by

Bad Robot 11 22 63 Bad Robot in Talks to Adapt Stephen Kings 11/22/63 for TV

For almost 40 years, the works of master scaremonger Stephen King have never exactly wanted for popularity. That said, interest in King’s fiction has experienced something of a resurgence recently – Carrie, his first published novel, is getting a new film adaptation this year; Under the Dome will appear as a miniseries event on CBS this summer; and a prequel to the original film adaptation of The Shining may just be in the wings.

Now, a more recent offering from King looks to be on the block for adaptation. J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot will apparently be adapting the time travel novel 11/22/63 for the small screen.

Deadline reports that Bad Robot is in final negotiations for the rights to 11/22/63. The company intends to create a television series or miniseries around the property. It’s likely that Bad Robot intends 11/22/63 for a cable audience.

A huge, sprawling novel, 11/22/63 follows unassuming high school teacher Jake Epping as a dying friend shows him a portal that leads to a sunny morning in September, 1958. Jake is tasked with a seemingly impossible mission: To go back in time and find a way to stop the killing of John F. Kennedy. Though Jake throws himself into the task, it turns out that history doesn’t like being toyed with. When even minor events resist being changed, will Jake even have a chance of stopping the most infamous assassination of the 20th century?

King’s book was a notable critical hit when it released in 2011, garnering far kinder reviews than many of the author’s more recent releases. As such, the desire to secure film/television rights to the work is not unexpected.

Stephen King 11 22 63 Bad Robot in Talks to Adapt Stephen Kings 11/22/63 for TV

That said, 11/22/63 may be extremely difficult to craft an effective television series around. The book is (largely) devoid of the ghouls and horrors that pepper King’s other work, instead taking its time to meticulously recreate the world of late 1950s/early 60s America. There is good deal of attention given to tracking, watching, and confirming the guilt of Lee Harvey Oswald – so much so that the book almost becomes a fictionalized biography of the assassin. All of this makes for interesting reading, but television audiences may find the deliberate pace and infrequent action tedious.

Of course, even a series adaptation of 11/22/63 could trim quite a bit of fat. There are more than a few suspenseful sequences from the book that could transfer well to television – particularly those in which Jake attempts to change the past and finds time itself fighting back in increasingly underhanded ways. Bad Robot has shepherded many worthwhile projects to  completion; with any luck, 11/22/63 will end up in the pantheon next to Lost and Fringe.


11/22/63 does not yet have an air date or even a network on which it will appear, but we’ll keep you updated as news becomes available.

Source: Deadline

Follow Kyle Hembree on Twitter @ProjectNightHam
TAGS: 11-22-63
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  1. Cool but, what’s happening with the Dark Tower.

  2. It could work but my fear is that US audiences don’t seem to have the attention span to keep a show afloat long enough to get to its natural conclusion. Couple that with the really long, drawn out seasons and mid-season breaks and it’s no wonder a lot of us in the UK get annoyed when a great show gets cancelled due to a lack of a decent sized audience in America.

    Doesn’t matter that a lot of the plot is about Jake following Oswald, just make it like a period detective piece and look at the success of shows like Life On Mars, Ashes To Ashes, Vegas, The Hour, Mad Men and others set in the recent past where it focuses more on characters than action.

    • We need to start looking at episodic television the way that the bbc often does. Short short seasons and just enough time given to a great idea to bring it to fruition. Thing Sherlock with it’s 3 episodes a year. Or Life on Mars 2 seasons of amazing! I know I know Dr. Who. But it’s the exception rather than the rule. We make shows exist for longer than they need to. It’s just because of syndication and laziness coming together for the perfect storm. And because of it we have too many shows that never reach a natural end…

  3. Didn’t I read somewhere that Jonathan Demme was turning this into a movie? Believe it or not, this is one of the few cases where I think a movie would work better than a series. Precisely because of said attention span in the last comment. Whatever it is, I do hope it makes it justice, I am a HUGE SK fan and this shot to the top of my favorite books.

  4. 11/22/63

    A time travel story taking place one day before worlds longest running sci-fi adventure, Doctor Who.

    Anyone smell a conspiracy?

    *looks around with insanity in his eyes*

  5. This is a great work by SK and I couldn’t put it down…But, having lived through that period (I was 16 when JFK was assassinated) and now seeing the low information, ADHD nature of today’s culture, I don’t see how this could succeed. And I would wish that it could. It just seems that with the structure and timing of today’s TV medium combined with the short attention span of today’s audience it wouldn’t be able to pull it off. “The Stand”, another one of King’s great complex woven web of a story was done in a mini-series, and while it was entertaining and got the basics across, the wonderfully crafted nuances of the book didn’t make it onto the screen. Let’s just hope J.J. can figure out how to do it.

    • I’d love to see The Stand turned into a 2 part movie with Johnny Depp as Randall Flagg.

    • This would be a perfect match for AMC. Would go well with their Mad Men fan base.

  6. This is one of the best Stephen King books Ive read. Verry good. I think this would make for a good series. I will watch.