CBS executives says they are continuing with development on a planned TV series version of Stephen King's The Stand for streaming on CBS All Access. King himself first teased the possibility of a new adaptation of The Stand last August, indicating that Showtime and CBS were both interested in the project as a limited series. Reports surfaced in April of this year that CBS All Access is indeed developing The Stand, with New Mutants director Josh Boone reportedly set to helm.
Published in 1978, King's novel follows the strange events that occur after a superflu decimates the world population, leaving random survivors to pick up the pieces of civilization and move on. The survivors eventually divide into two factions, the good people who are called to the side of a mystical old woman named Mother Abigail and the bad people who join up with a mysterious wandering figure named Randall Flagg. The book was adapted into a now-maligned miniseries by ABC in 1994.
Speaking to Deadline after CBS All Access' session at this TCA summer press tour, CBS TV studios president David Stapf and CBS All Access president and COO Marc DeBevoise discussed their plans to take another crack at adapting The Stand for television, confirming that development on the project remains on-going. As for when fans might actually get to see the show, DeBevoise indicated things are still fluid when it comes to scheduling. He said:
To be clear, we mean 2019 like a 2019 season and, to be honest, we are a little vague on what our seasons are yet. So, we’re just trying to get as much through that pipeline as we can.
CBS All Access first came to life in 2017 with the debut of Star Trek: Discovery, which has since gone on to score a second season (a trailer for which was released at San Diego Comic-Con last month). And CBS will continue dipping into the Star Trek well beyond Discovery, launching a series of short-form spinoffs as well as a new series following the further adventures of Star Trek: TNG captain Jean-Luc Picard, with Patrick Stewart back in the role. This fall the streaming service will expand its offerings beyond Trek with Tell Me a Story, a dark spin on classic fairy tales headed by Scream writer Kevin Williamson. The service also reportedly will revive the classic CBS series The Twilight Zone with Jordan Peele acting as executive producer.
Given the resurgence in King's popularity in the wake of last year's blockbuster horror film IT, it's no surprise CBS is pursuing a new adaptation of The Stand as a potential centerpiece for their streaming service as it attempts to expand beyond the safe haven of Star Trek. The original Stand miniseries is not fondly remembered by King fans, but there's reason for optimism that the new series will be a much more effective take on the material than what ABC offered up over 20 years ago.
Whoever takes on the task of helming the new series will be less restricted content-wise on All Access, giving them greater freedom to explore the book's incredibly dark themes of good vs. evil in a world decimated by plague. And as Star Trek: Discovery showed, CBS is willing to spend money to make their All Access offerings look and feel as cinematic as possible, an important consideration when tackling material as sprawling and complex as The Stand.