John Grisham has done pretty well for himself in the lawyer-focused thriller novel department. Selling upwards of 300 million copies of his books, Grisham’s works have often been adapted, both as numerous feature films and in a handful of attempts at TV series. But unlike Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and J.K. Rowling (or the big comic book brands), he has yet to enjoy a “universe” of his own on the big or small screens. That’s about to change thanks to Hulu’s plans for The Grisham Universe.
As THR reports, Hulu and ABC Signature are launching this shared storyverse with two scripted series: Adaptations of Grisham’s The Rainmaker and Rogue Lawyer. The series, which are connected but can also stand alone, will share one storyline. And that’s just for starters as the universe has the potential to grow and expand.
Michael Seitzman (Code Black) and Jason Richman (Detroit 187) will act as writers and executive producers on both potential shows; they’re currently “in development” so expect to hear more once Hulu/ABC Signature give a green light officially. Grisham and Christina Davis of Seitzman’s Maniac Productions are also on board as executive producers.
The production companies are hoping that “The Grisham Universe” will be a unique experience for viewers, who will be able to watch each show independently or thread them together to get both sides of the story at the same time. Some characters are expected to stay “home” on one show or the other, but the idea for the universe is to allow a freedom of movement between the series for a good number of characters. It’s not exactly a novel approach seeing as crossovers and related episodes have been airing somewhat simultaneously for a long time now, but it is a more concerted effort to launch the universe with the shared crossovers planned in advance rather than as a reaction to good ratings.
Hulu aims to get in on this storytelling approach to universe-building franchises earlier than other TV streaming platforms. A recent deal with George R.R. Martin for his anthology series Wild Cards is one example (with two series currently in the works), as is their exclusive King anthology series Castle Rock. They’re in for a big battle against Netflix’s The Chronicles of Narnia buy-up and Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings plans. Whoever ultimately proves victorious in the latest round of the Streaming Wars, audiences will win as content remains king.