How '666 Park Ave.' will be like 'The Shining'

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There’s a long and rocky history of TV producers trying to successfully adapt Stephen King novels. Could a new series capture the horror master’s sensibility while having nothing to do with his actual work?

ABC’s upcoming horror soap 666 Park Ave. (see the show’s curiously sexy marketing poster here) isn’t drawn from any of King’s material (it’s based on a novel with the same title by Gabriella Pierce), but producers admit the author’s work was a heavy influence on the show. “It’s absolutely Stephen King influenced,” said executive producer David Wilcox told TV critics Friday. “Who can’t be influenced by Stephen King when working in this genre?”

The series follows the mysterious proprietor [Terry O'Quinn] of a luxury New York City highrise and his tenants who have their dreams fulfilled — for a price. Wilcox cites King’s page-turner The Shining as having a particular impact on the story. “The [666] building is like the Overlook Hotel from The Shining,” he said. “It has a presence, it has a spirit that seems to be working hand in hand with Gavin [O'Quinn]. But it also might be more powerful than anybody knows.”

Wilcox also noted the influences extend beyond King’s works, to films like Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen and Jacob’s Ladder. “That was the juice we were looking at and trying to pull that into this show,” he said.

Just don’t expect 666, which airs on Sunday nights this fall, to have too much gore — this is broadcast TV, after all (and on a network watched heavily by female soap fans). “It’s more a psychological horror,” Wilcox said. “This show has the soap and seduction that other ABC shows possess … which isn’t to say there aren’t shocking visceral moments in the show.”

One critic asked the writer-producers how they will convince viewers that people would be foolish enough to stay in a haunted house for season after season. It’s a good question. I mean, it would be one thing if O’Quinn and company were trapped on, oh I dunno, an island, but in a building?

“It’s something we deal with fairly early on,” Wilcox said. “I’m reluctant to give away too much but that’s part of Gavin’s plan as well. When [the building's new tenants] sign that lease at end of the pilot, it may be more than just a lease and leaving might be more difficult than they thought.”

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