EXCLUSIVE: Peacock has scored another drama project from Julie Plec and her Vampire Academy co-exec producer Adam Starks as its development strategy kicks into second gear.

The NBCU streamer is developing Freeman, a mystery drama series set in a small, picturesque town in Georgia, from Plec and Starks. Peacock is understood to have won the project in a highly competitive battle and has set up a mini writers’ room.

Freeman comes from Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, where Plec is under an overall deal.

It follows a family, which moves to a small, picturesque town in Georgia after acquiring a lucrative inheritance, including the mysterious house known as Freeman Manor. It’s soon discovered that there are mysteries and darkness hidden within the walls, and the town at large, that go back generations.   

Starks, who was a consulting producer on HBO Max’s Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin and Netflix’s Freeridge, is writing and exec producing. Plec exec produces via her My So-Called Company alongside her production partner Emily Cummins.

In addition to writing on On My Block, The Tick, Good Trouble and Snowpiercer, Starks was a co-exec producer on Peacock’s Vampire Academy, which Plec co-created and was co-showrunner on. The series launched in September.

Plec is best known as the creator, showrunner, executive producer and director of series such as The Vampire Diaries and its multiple spinoffs and is also exec producing HBO Max’s upcoming Girls on the Bus.

Freeman is her latest project in the works with Universal Television, which has We Were Liars at Amazon and Confessions at Netflix.   

The drama project comes as Peacock recently updated its development priorities as it enters the year with the first full slate from Susan Rovner, Chairman, Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming and her team.

On the drama side, there is a focus on big, eventized dramas. Upcoming series include Knives Out filmmaker Rian Johnson’s case-of-the-week mystery series Poker Face starring Natasha Lyonne, Based On a True Story starring Kaley Cuoco and Mrs. Davis from Damon Lindelof and Tara Hernandez.

It recently gave a straight-to-series order to a contemporary horror thriller based on Robert McCammon’s Stinger from writer Ian McCulloch (Yellowstone), Atomic Monster’s James Wan (The Conjuring Universe) and UCP.

Plec is represented by Entertainment 360 and Felker Toczek Suddleson, Starks is represented by A3 Artists Agency and Ziffren Brittenham and Cummins is represented by Cliff Gilbert-Lurie. 


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