Back in October, ABC Family announced it would be changing its name to Freeform, but that’s not the only change coming to the cabler. ABC Family is the latest network or cabler to pick up a horror series. On Wednesday, ABC Family announced Once Upon a Time creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis and Once Upon a Time writer Ian Goldberg would be the showrunners for Dead of Summer, the new horror series. Based on several script commitments, ABC Family has already ordered the new show straight to series.
In an announcement on Wednesday about the new series, ABC Family executive vice president of programming, Karey Burke, explained “Dead of Summer is about what happens when summer camp goes wrong – really, really wrong.” According to ABC Family, Dead of Summer is set to focus on Camp Clearwater in the late 1980’s. But summer fun soon turns to terror in this seemingly normal Midwestern summer camp where the list of activities include murder. But ABC Family and the show’s creators describe Dead of Summer as more than just a horror series. The show is intended to be a horror story, yes, but it is also a coming of age tale.
This will be the first time working in this genre for Horowitz, Kitsis, and Goldberg. Despite being rookies when it comes to writing horror, their success with Once Upon a Time, currently in its fifth season on ABC, proves their talent. They may not have much experience with horror, but fans of Once know these creators love dark and twisted characters with tragic backstories.
With the addition of Dead of Summer, television has seen a rise in horror shows. On network TV, American Crime and Secrets and Lies air on ABC, and Fox has Scream Queens. On cable, FX has American Horror Story as well as American Crime Story, and the same day ABC Family announced their new horror series, Syfy ordered two seasons of the Channel Zero anthology. It seems that the success of horror shows has created an audience and demand for more shows in the genre.
As ABC Family officially becomes Freeform beginning in Jan. 2016, the cabler has hopes to reinvent itself. With the new name, ABC Family plans on developing more original series, including Dead of Summer.