The Alienist in development as a TV drama series

Paramount TVIn several articles released today, announcements were made about a handful of new Paramount TV projects currently in development including “a drama series inspired by Caleb Carr’s best-selling novel, The Alienist, with Anonymous Content (True Detective) executive producing” (Deadline). These announcements were accompanied by Paramount TV naming its new heads of comedy and drama development, working under president Amy Powell. Talking to Variety about Paramount TV’s new developments, Powell commented, “It’s not only all the great movies we’ve released over the years but all the books and the articles and the life rights we own, and the great screenplays that never made it to the screen. To be able to walk in here with a literal clean slate and (chairman) Brad (Grey’s) directive — it’s the best of all worlds.” She went on to say that the focus at Paramount TV will be on “quality not quantity” of projects. Talking specifically about The Alienist, The Guardian reported that Powell described the book as “an incredible piece of writing — when I was looking through our library, I thought this is something we have to do.”

As more information comes to about this development, you can be sure to see it updated here.

6 comments on “The Alienist in development as a TV drama series

    • I feel the same way. Initially I was excited at the news — for many years now I’ve been of the view that the best kind of screen adaptation for The Alienist would be a historically accurate John Adams style TV mini-series — but then I read more closely and noticed the words “inspired by” in all the reports. That worries me quite a bit. On the positive side, Amy Powell’s statement that Paramount TV will be focusing on “quality not quantity” of projects, as well as her comment that The Alienist is “an incredible piece of writing”, gives me some hope. I guess only time will tell.

      • I LOVE these books more than any I have ever read! I wanted so badly to see these stories televised or in a movie, but with all the crud that happened with the movie deals, TV might be the only way to go. I also agree this can be easily botched (and I don’t think true fans of the books will be satisfied with the movies, as there will be parts that have to be cut, etc.), but I would still love to see these stories come to life, as long as whoever produces and directs it is respectful of Carr’s characters and plot lines!

  1. Exciting news! I really hope the series lives up to the books and doesn’t “Hollywood” the story or the characters.

  2. I love True Detective, so I can’t imagine a better producer to take on the Alienist. This could possibly be the best news I’ve heard about television since Hannibal hit NBC.

    Can you picture McConaughey as John Moore? Harrellson as Roosevelt? Who could they get as Kreizler?

    • Ever since I saw his performance in Django Unchained, I’ve thought Christoph Waltz would be perfect as Kreizler. It will be interesting to see how they go about casting. Will it be star driven, or will they look for relative unknowns who could make the characters their own?

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