U.S. network television taps film format with 'Rosemary's Baby' remake

Thu May 8, 2014 8:40am EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After 45 years, "Rosemary's Baby" is back, with a new lead actress, location and platform - a television network that wants viewers to watch TV when it happens.

The classic horror remake, billed by Comcast Corp's NBC as a two-part "miniseries event" starting Sunday, marks the latest TV show to lure film talent and pick up the slack as Hollywood gravitates to big-budget blockbusters or microbudget films.

Previously adapted by Roman Polanski in a 1968 film starring Mia Farrow, "Rosemary's Baby" taps film actress Zoe Saldana for the modern Rosemary Woodhouse in her first leading TV role.

After suffering a miscarriage, Rosemary and husband Guy move to Paris for a fresh start and befriend a mysterious wealthy couple who become their benefactors. As Rosemary becomes pregnant again, she suffers frightening hallucinations and symptoms as she realizes dark forces might be at play.

NBC's decision to air a four-hour adaptation of "Rosemary's Baby" and Saldana's move to network TV highlights the potential for film talent to cash in on television's rising clout.

Other recent examples include Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson teaming up on gritty HBO series "True Detective," and actor-director Billy Bob Thornton on FX's "Fargo" series.

"Both networks and cable stations are willing to take risks right now and they're a great incubator and great home for people who just want to get their material out there," said David Stern, executive producer of NBC's "Rosemary's Baby."

By marketing the show as an "event," NBC hopes to entice viewers to watch live, something that advertisers covet as viewing habits shift towards delayed viewing through digital video recorders (DVR) where viewers can skip commercials.   Continued...

Actress Zoe Saldana arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit celebrating the opening of "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" in Upper Manhattan, New York, May 5, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson