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TV executives mine rich seam of cinematic gold

Film-to-television adaptations have actually been around for decades but demand for movie-inspired pilots in recent years has seen unprecedented growth.

Over the last two weeks, 18 hotly anticipated series bound for TV audiences in the fall have been previewing at the annual PaleyFest television festival in Beverly Hills, California — with almost a third based on movies.

Fox’s “Lethal Weapon,” and “The Exorcist” air this month while Robert Rodriguez’s Latino-focused El Rey network brings back the vampire series “From Dusk Till Dawn” for a third season.

“I think the trend of remaking properties is very strong right now in Hollywood,” Diego Gutierrez, the executive producer of “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series,” told AFP at PaleyFest.

“It’s always great to have source material that is strong and has legs.”

Early October sees the return for a second season of “Ash vs The Evil Dead” on the Starz network and The CW’s “Frequency” premieres a few days later.

HBO’s “Westworld,” based on the 1973 film of the same name, bows in October, while more than 30 film-to-TV conversions are in various stages of production.

‘More eyeballs’

Over the coming months and years expect to see “Rambo: New Blood,” “Uncle Buck,” “Tremors,” and “Van Helsing” vying to emulate the success of “Bates Motel,” “Fargo” — one of the most nominated shows at this year’s Emmys — and “Hannibal.”

The appeal of reimagining movies, say producers and their actors, is obvious.

Why risk making a pilot from scratch, spending months and a small fortune on filming, only to have it rejected, when you can reimagine an established property with a fan base already built in?

“There’s so much competition that it helps when a title is known — it’s going to get more eyeballs,” Jordana Brewster, star of five of the “Fast and Furious” movies and lead cast member in the “Lethal Weapon” TV series, told AFP.

“They want the marketing already there. They want to be able to see the posters, see the t-shirts, see the hats,” added Brewster’s co-star Clayne Crawford, who plays Detective Martin Riggs, the character made famous by Mel Gibson.

“I worked on a show, ‘Rectify’ for five seasons or four seasons and no one cared.”