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AMC Developing Walking Dead Companion Show, New Chris Carter Area 51 Series, Plus Pilots Involving Exorcism, the Occult, and More!

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AMC Developing Walking Dead Companion Show, New Chris Carter Area 51 Series, Plus Pilots Involving Exorcism, the Occult, and More!TV’s 2014 Upfront presentations are currently under way, and while the horror news has been light so far, today it was AMC’s turn, and they have several projects in development that caught our eye.

First, the thus far untitled “The Walking Dead” companion series has landed Dave Erickson (“Sons of Anarchy”) as an executive producer and co-writer along with Robert Kirkman.

As Kirkman said previously, “After ten years of writing the comic book series… I couldn’t be more thrilled about getting the chance to create a new corner of ‘The Walking Dead’ universe. The opportunity to make a show that isn’t tethered by the events of the comic book, and is truly a blank page, has set my creativity racing.

Now, as for the rest, along with “The After,” which is heading to Amazon, Chris Carter has “Area 51″ in the works at AMC. Written by Carter and and executive produced by him and Gale Anne Hurd (“The Walking Dead,” The Terminator), the show is based on the NY Times best-seller Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base by Annie Jacobson. It’s a contemporary conspiracy thriller revealing the true story behind the infamous Area 51, America’s most mysterious military installation. (If this sounds a bit familiar, we got the first word about this back in November of 2011 with a follow-up in July of 2012. Things do move slow in TV land!)

Next is “Strange Angel,” executive produced by Ridley Scott and David Zucker of Scott Free. AMC has optioned the book Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons by George Pendle, based on the life of Jim Parsons, a brilliant rocket scientist and co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. While a pioneer in research that had only recently been dreamed up in science fiction, his bright future gave way to ruin as Parsons headed down another, darker path into the occult community of mid-century Los Angeles.

Then we have “The Sparrow,” written and executive produced by Michael Perry (“The River,” Paranormal Activity 2). Based on Mary Doria Russell’s acclaimed science-fiction epic, “The Sparrow” tells the story of a Jesuit-led mission to make first contact with an alien race.

Now, about that exorcism project… It’s called “Outer Darkness,” written and co-executive produced by Jim McDermott. The other executive producers are Stacey Sher (Pulp Fiction) and Michael Shamberg (Django Unchained, Pulp Fiction) of Double Feature Films. It’s said to be a “grounded” take on exorcism by exploring everyday evil in an idyllic Midwestern town.

The network has also optioned Somewhere East of Life by Brian Aldiss with an eye toward developing it as a scripted drama series. Set in the near future, it tells the story of a man as he tries to reclaim his identity after having the last 10 years of his memories stolen.

Lastly, for fans of Kevin Smith (we know you’re out there!), AMC renewed his “Comic Book Men” for a fourth season and is expanding their relationship to include the development of a late-night project, “Hollywood Babble-On,” starring Smith and his co-host of their popular podcast, Ralph Garman, to be produced by Wilshire Studios and executive produced by Smith, Garman, and Gary Auerbach. Additionally, AMC is also working with Smith on the development of a docu-series featuring super-collector and “Comic Book Men” regular Robert Bruce. Produced by Original Media and Smith’s Smodcast Pictures and exec produced by Dan Laikind, Charlie Corwin, Elyse Seiden, and Smith, Bruce and his fellow experts scour the country searching real estate sales, auction houses, and flea markets on a quest to find rare items that will feed the needs of his demanding clients and add to Bruce’s own colossal collection.

Look for more on these projects as it comes!

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Debi Moore

I'll see you on the other side...