NBC Will Repurpose MUNSTERS Pilot MOCKINGBIRD LANE as a Halloween Special [Update: Airs October 26]

     October 10, 2012

nbc mockingbird lane

Things looked dire the last time we checked on Mockingbird Lane, the Munsters series reboot created by Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies).  After toiling in development for two years, NBC was reportedly unsatisfied with the finished pilot and leaning toward passing on the project.  What I didn’t know was that NBC invested about a $10 million in Mockingbird Lane, a great incentive for the network to find some way to monetize the product.  A series order is still a very long shot, but we will get to see the pilot if NBC finalizes plans to air the Bryan Singer-directed episode as a Halloween special later this year.  The cast features Jerry O’Connell as Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi as Lily Munster, and Eddie Izzard as the vampire Grandpa.  More after the jump:

THR reported this morning that NBC was mulling its options as to what to do with this expensive, high-profile pilot:

the munsters mockingbird lane

  • Air it as a Halloween special (either this year or next).
  • Shoot extra footage and package it as a made-for-TV movie for international buyers.
  • Deem it a sunk cost, scrap the project, and move on.

I was very happy to see THR’s follow-up indicate NBC will go with the first option, because I badly want to see what Fuller created.

There were three key conflicts that caused trouble for Mockingbird Lane:

  • Fuller and Singer differed over the visual style of the pilot.
  • NBC executives wanted the family to interact with a contemporary real-world setting to generate fish-out-of-water antics.  Fuller wanted the series to take place in its own self-contained universe.
  • Fuller is focused on the Hannibal Lecter prequel series Hannibal—which already has a 13-episode order for midseason on NBC—and lacks the necessary time to fix the pilot.

So you can see why NBC was reluctant to invest more money in pursuing an oddball series, but we can all take solace that the development was too expensive to scrap altogether.  Halloween is just around the corner, too, but there is no word yet on the exact air date.

[Update: The special will air Friday, October 26 at 8pm.  See the press release below for details.]


UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – October 11, 2012 – As Halloween nears, NBC turns Friday, October 26 into Fright Night when it premieres the pilot of the much-anticipated “Mockingbird Lane” (8-9 p.m. ET) — based on executive producer Bryan Fuller’s (“Pushing Daisies,” “Heroes”) script and directed by executive producer Bryan Singer (“X-Men” film series, “House”). The special program leads into a haunting “La Llorona” Halloween episode of “Grimm” (9-10 p.m. ET), which will also enjoy special airings on NBCUniversal’s Telemundo and mun2.

“Mockingbird Lane” is a new reimagined version of the classic 1960s comedy “The Munsters,” now as a visually spectacular one-hour drama with a darker edge and tone. The cast includes Jerry O’Connell (“The Defenders”) as Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi (“Arrested Development”) as his wife Lily, Eddie Izzard (“United States of Tara,” “The Riches”) as Grandpa, Mason Cook (‘Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D”) as Eddie and Charity Wakefield (“The Raven”) as Marilyn.

“This exciting new take on a memorable series will definitely blow out conventional wisdom and create its own legacy,” said Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment. “Teaming this new show with a terrifying episode of ‘Grimm’ makes the perfect pre-Halloween fright-fest.”

In the original 1964-66 series “The Munsters,” the odd but lovable family lived on 1313 Mockingbird Lane.

In “Mockingbird Lane,” sweet little Eddie Munster (Cook) is a normal kid about to enter the horrors of puberty. Truth is, he’s about to discover that for him becoming a teenager means growing hair in truly unexpected places — as in all over his body — every time the moon is full! Eddie’s got it pretty good though. His loving, supportive, run-of-the-mill family includes his mom Lily (de Rossi), the daughter of Dracula; his dad Herman (O’Connell), who brings new meaning to “Frankenstein”; and Grandpa (Izzard), who would give Dracula a run for his money if he weren’t actually Dracula! Of course then there’s creepy cousin Marilyn (Wakefield), who’s really the odd one because she’s so completely normal.

Buying a house these days is a nightmare, so Herman and Lily are shocked that no one scooped up the rambling Victorian mansion at 1313 Mockingbird Lane that was the site of a series of grisly hobo murders. Settling into their new place, they’re quickly onto the mission at hand: to gently ease Eddie into the reality of his werewolf adolescence. But it’s not always so easy to accept that your child is a little “different” from the rest of the kids. Meanwhile, Herman, who works as a funeral director, is suffering from a heart condition. Since he’s made up mostly of spare parts, he knew his makeshift heart would eventually give out. No worries though, because Grandpa, who is pretty good at procuring body parts, is on the case. All Herman cares about is finding a new heart with the same capacity to love Lily as much as he has for so many decades.

“Mockingbird Lane” is from Bad Hat Harry Productions and Universal Television. Executive producers include Fuller, Singer and Sara Colleton (“Dexter”). Singer also directed the pilot.