EXCLUSIVE: Weird NJ is coming to the small screen. Sony Pictures Television has acquired the rights to Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman’s Weird NJ magazines and broader Weird U.S franchise for development as a live-action horror-comedy series. The project hails from Little Demon co-creator Kieran Valla and NJ native and filmmaker David Kaufmann and Vertigo Entertainment.
First published in 1993, Weird NJ is a beloved travel guide to the places you won’t find on a tourist map. By focusing on locations and stories that are weird, odd or unique — all told by local New Jerseyans — Moran and Sceurman have become the keepers of New Jersey’s most interesting folklore and untold history. They most recently published their 58th issue.
The show will be based on the well-known Weird NJ magazines about an estranged family that is forced by destiny to protect New Jersey from evil, they must temper their resentments and battle a supernatural adversary, who plans to destroy the Garden State and then the world. Think It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia meets Stranger Things, but all set in Jersey.
Vertigo Entertainment brought the project to the studio alongside a unique story developed by Valla and Kaufmann. The show will utilize the true-life mythology and legends of Weird NJ paired with original characters to create a scripted horror-comedy series highlighting the back roads and haunted places of the Garden State.
Valla will pen the pilot script and Kaufmann, who grew up reading Weird NJ, will executive produce through his Devonsheer Media banner. Roy Lee and Aengus McLoone will executive produce for Vertigo.
Valla has established a creative niche in the horror/comedy space where he has directed original pilots for Comedy Central and TBS. Recently, he co-wrote a half-hour comedy pilot for Hulu and co-created the animated comedy Little Demon, starring Danny Devito and Aubrey Plaza, which premieres August 25 on FX. Previously, he directed the independent film Delinquent.
Kaufmann is also currently developing a feature film on the life of Jutta Kleinschmidt, the first and only woman to win the Dakar Rally, with Amblin and 87 North.
Valla is repped by Anonymous Content and the Nord Group. Kaufmann is repped by Larry Marks of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips. Sceurman and Moran are repped by Circle of Confusion and Michael Moskowitz of Moskowitz Law Firm, PC.
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