Fox Nabs ‘The Passage’ Vampire Drama From Liz Heldens, Matt Reeves & Scott Free With Big Commitment

Nellie Andreeva
Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Fox has given a pilot production commitment to The Passage, a drama series based on Justin Cronin’s fantasy book trilogy. The high-profile project hails from Liz Heldens (Friday Night Lights), Felicity co-creator Matt Reeves, Scott Free and 20th Century Fox TV.

Written by Heldens, with Reeves set to direct, The Passage begins as a character-driven government conspiracy thriller and morphs into a post-apocalyptic saga with vampires. The series spans over a century and focuses on a young girl named Amy who must save the human race.

Heldens executive produces alongside Reeves and Adam Kassan via 6th & Idaho and Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker via Scott Free Productions. Cronin is co-producer. 20th TV, where Heldens and Reeves’ 6th & Idaho are under overall deals, is the studio. Clayton Krueger will oversee for Scott Free and Rafi Crohn for 6th & Idaho.

The Passage‘s road to the screen started in 2007 when, in a fierce bidding situation among film studios and top producers, Fox 2000 landed the first book — then half-written — for $1.75 million for Scott Free to produce. Originally developed as a feature, the producers eventually determined that the property would be better served as a TV series. The project migrated to sister studio 20th TV, which, working with Scott Free, attached Heldens because she loved the books and she hit it off with the producers.

The Passage trilogy by Cronin includes the best-selling eponymous first book, published in 2010 by Random House’s Ballantine Books, which was followed by The Twelve in 2012 and The City of Mirrors earlier this year.

Heldens serves an executive producer on Seth MacFarlane’s upcoming space dramedy series for Fox. She previously created NBC’s Mercy and Deception and co-created the network’s summer series Camp. Before segueing to development, Heldens spent three seasons on the critically praised drama Friday Night Lights. She is repped by WME.

This is the second big commitment for 6th & Idaho this season. The company also has a put pilot at NBC with Family Honor, written by Nkechi Carroll. Since Felicity ended in 2002, Reeves — who created and executive produced the the cult WB dramedy with J.J. Abrams — has been focused on feature directing, helming Abrams’ Cloverfield and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. He is in post-production on the followup, War For the Planet of the Apes. 6th & Idaho is repped by CAA, 3 Arts, and Attorney Karl Austen.

Scott Free has several series on the air, including The Man in the High Castle, Mercy Street and the upcoming Good Wife spinoff, The Good Fight, Taboo and The Terror. Additionally, the company has the popular Killing movie franchise at National Geographic and multiple drama series projects in the works at CBS. Scott Free is repped by WME. The book series is repped by ICM Partners and Trident Media Group.

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