Another day, another Stephen King novel prepares to become a television property, as the author’s 2013 novel Joyland moves into development at Freeform. King’s works have been the source of film and television adaptations for decades now, but, more recently, it seems his novels have become a sort of industrial complex unto themselves, with feature films like IT dominating the box office, while Hulu’s Castle Rock built an entire expanded universe around various story components created by the author over the years.
It’s probably not too surprising, then, to think teen-focused cable network Freeform would want to attract more viewers by capitalizing on King’s name. This time, though, the network won’t be adapting a classic from the catalog, but rather a relatively new novel set in one of the scariest places known to humankind: a carnival. The story also has the added advantage of being set in 1973, a detail that likely helped sway Freeform’s decision, because what network can turn down the chance to make a period and genre drama in the same go?
As reported by Deadline, the series is set to be adapted by writers Chris Peña (Jane the Virgin), Chris Nowrasteh (The Young Messiah). No word on whether King will be involved beyond the usual producer capacity he typically is on adaptations of his work, or if he intends to pen a script or two. For those who aren’t familiar with Joyland, check out the official (but still vague) synopsis for the novel below:
“Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.”
The younger-skewing demographic of Freeform might be the ideal place for an adaptation of Joyland, as its college-aged protagonist will likely make the series more appealing, or it can easily be reconfigured to make Devin younger, if need be. What exactly, Peña and Nowrasteh’s plans are for the series, in terms of tone, are unclear at the moment, but it shouldn’t be cause for too much concern, as Freeform hasn’t exactly shied away from darker content with many of its other shows, including Siren and Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger.
Joyland does not currently have a premiere date.