"That one got really caught up in a complete legal mess unfortunately with a very complicated underlying rights structure," TNT President Kevin Reilly told Deadline. "We lost so much time, so I said, 'Look, I'm not waiting around four years for this thing'. Maybe that will come back around but in the meantime, Ridley Scott had come up, who has so much creative enthusiasm."
Unable to move forward with Tales From the Crypt, expected to be the biggest hit of the bunch, it appears TNT is putting Time of Death and Creatures, two other series in the network's planned horror block, on hold as well. December's reports on the Tales From the Crypt issues made it sound like a package deal, and Deadline reports that became even more true when Scott came along with some sci-fi programming that could stand in for the horror block.
Back in December, there were rumors of both rights and budget issues have halted development on the series, which was expected to be one of a number of horror shows coming to TNT at the end of 2017. At the time, the network did little to disabuse journalists of the notion that the show is on hold, although they seemingly rejected the idea that it's budget-related, and it sounded like from TNT's point of view the show wasn't dead altogether.
"The underlying rights to this classic, vintage property are complicated," a representative for the network said. "TNT and others have been pursuing a solution for more than a year, with significant progress being made. We look forward to the potential for further active development of this valuable franchise once the clearance process is fully resolved."
"To be part of such a beloved brand like Tales From the Crypt, something I grew up watching, and to also have the chance to push the boundaries of genre television as a whole, is an inspiring opportunity that I can't wait to dive into," Shyamalan said at the time of the announcement.
Tales from the Crypt is based on the EC Comics series of the same name, created by William Gaines. The original show ran from 1989 until 1996 on HBO, and the show's host, the Crypt Keeper, has become an icon of horror.
The new series would have been "based on" the comics, with a reinvented Crypt Keeper -- although it's distinctly possible that the specter of the cult-classic HBO series is part of the rights issues TNT alluded to.
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