Overlooked at HBO Max, J.J. Abrams’ (Lost, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens) Bad Robot is now on the hunt for a network or streaming platform with available vacancy for a horror anthology set in The Shining’s iconic haunted hotel. While the Stephen King (Carrie, Salem’s Lot) universe-inspired Overlook was originally greenlit on 2020, as part of a sprawling development deal between Bad Robot and HBO Max, the network decided to go a different direction, via The Hollywood Reporter.
J.J. Abrams’ ‘The Shining’ spinoff ‘Overlook’ is not moving forward at HBO Max
The series is being shopped and is expected to get picked up elsewhere soon
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According to Deadline, “HBO Max brass liked [Overlook] but felt it was not a fit for them at this time.” Fortunately for Bad Robot, HBO Max is far from the only party willing to invest in the recognizable horror IP. Deadline reports that Netflix, home of literary horror anthologies The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, is the top contender vying for Overlook.
HBO Max’s change in direction does not indicate any bad blood between the streamer and Bad Robot, as the platform and its parent network are moving forward with numerous projects from Abrams’ company, including Duster, Demimonde, They Both Die at the End and Justice League Dark adaptations Constantine and Madame X. Projects Bad Robot has already been involved with on the network include Westworld, a relationship that will continue in the show’s upcoming fourth season, and the unexpectedly cancelled hit, Lovecraft Country.
Horror anthologies have experienced a resurgence since the debut of Ryan Murphy’s (Glee, Pose) ongoing American Horror Story saga in 2011. American Horror Story even featured an entire season set inside a haunted hotel, loosely based on Los Angeles’ Cecil Hotel, however Overlook comes with the built-in audience from fans of King’s novels and Stanley Kubrick’s (2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange) iconic film adaptation. Horror franchise prequels, such as Bates Motel and Hannibal, likewise have a trending precedent on television.
While HBO Max passed on Overlook, the parent network already features a hotel-based anthology on their platform in Room 104. A revolving slate of guests with strange stories makes a hotel an ideal setting for an episodic anthology across genre, as Room 104 proved in its genre-hopping four season run. TBS also boasted a purely comedic hotel anthology series in The Guest Book, which ran for two seasons. With a track-record of this precise anthology setting, across networks and genres, Overlook will likely be handed the keys to a new network or streaming home shortly.
While audiences wait to discover where Bad Robot’s Overlook gets booked, they can check out Lisey’s Story on Apple TV+ or Castle Rock on Hulu to get acclimated to Bad Robot-produced adaptations of King’s work.