For the next two weeks, journalists from all over the U.S. are gathered in Los Angeles for the Television Critics Association winter press tour, where TV networks and streaming companies will introduce their newest series and announce exciting news about upcoming shows. Today’s edition of TV Talk includes a major horror TV development, plus intel on NBC Universal series Project Runway, Suits spin-off Pearson, and sitcom Abby’s.
Horror television is about to get a little more adorable (and a whole lot more terrifying): Syfy announced Tuesday that it is developing a TV series centering around Chucky, the red-headed, freckle-faced doll that just so happens to be possessed by a serial killer. The Child’s Play character, who has been the star of seven different slasher films, as well as an upcoming reboot, will be brought to the small screen by original creator Don Mancini, producer David Kirschner, and Channel Zero creator Nick Antosca.
“The show will be a fresh take on the franchise, allowing us to explore Chucky’s character with a depth that is uniquely afforded by the television series format, while staying true to the original vision that has terrorized audiences for over three decades now,” wrote Mancini in a statement announcing the news. Even the scariest doll in the world had a say in the statement: “In these troubled times, I believe it’s my obligation as a horror icon to reach the widest possible audience, on TV. For over 30 years, I’ve been scaring the s— out of you. But now at Syfy, I look forward to really making a difference,” Chucky “said.”
When Project Runway returns to Bravo on March 14, it’ll be missing the two most familiar faces from its cast: host Heidi Klum and mentor Tim Gunn. But their replacements, model Karlie Kloss and Project Runway alum Christian Siriano (who won the fourth season), were hand-picked by producers. Siriano even has the Klum seal of approval. “Heidi and Tim made the decision to move in a different direction,” explained executive producer Dan Cutforth at a press conference for reporters on Tuesday. “And it’s interesting that when Heidi was asked who should be the new Tim, she said Christian Siriano. We were already talking to Christian at that time, so we saw that as a great endorsement. But he was the perfect person to come into that role. And Tim and Heidi have been such a great part of this show since the beginning and really helped bring this show together and make it into something that people fell in love with. And they were really supportive of the new direction that we were going in.”
Gina Torres’ lawyer character Jessica Pearson is used to being a boss on Suits. But in her spinoff, Pearson, which sees her move to Chicago (where she isn’t licensed to practice law), she’ll have to start over as a fish out of water. “Jessica has to earn her family,” Torres said. “These are completely different people. It’s a completely different world. She doesn’t know them. They don’t know her. They don’t know if they trust me.” Check out what Jessica will experience in the first trailer for the new series, which premieres later this year on USA.
NBC’s new sitcom, about a woman who runs a bar in her backyard, will naturally draw comparisons to another famous bar-set sitcom. But star Neil Flynn noted that the setting is really the only thing Abby’s has in common with Cheers. Star Natalie Morales, who plays the titular character, welcomes the comparison, though. “Any kind of comparison that we could have, or to Ted Danson that I could have, I’m very happy,” she said. The setting isn’t exactly similar, however. Abby’s bar is outside, which meant that the show filmed in front of a live studio audience outdoors in Los Angeles, presenting a few unique challenges. “The things we had to worry about were airplanes and helicopters; sirens being noisy,” Morales said. “But a fun fact is we shot this on Tuesday nights, as opposed to many multi-cams [that] shoot on a Friday night, because we shot on the Universal Lot, and Halloween Horror Nights was going on, and you would have heard the screaming. So we avoided that, which was nice.” Abby’s premieres March 28 on NBC.