After being largely ignored for decades fantasy is back in vogue on both the big and small screens, and since much of the vintage fairy tale material is in the public domain, there’s no stopping a studio from announcing its version of a classic saga just after another studio has unveiled plans for its own adaptation. Thus we have dueling big screen live-action versions of Snow White in production, and two fairy tale-based TV series, Grimm and Once Upon a Time debuting on network TV. Last September the CW network announced a new version of the old CBS Beauty and the Beast live-action series that aired from 1987 to 1990 and starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman.
Now ABC, which has had ratings success with Once Upon a Time, has ordered its own live action version of Beauty and the Beast, a period saga that is being written by Jonathan Steinberg, who developed The Human Target series for Fox. According to Deadline, the ABC version of Beauty and the Beast will be “set in a dangerous world wherein a beautiful and tough princess discovers an unlikely connection with a mysterious beast.” If ABC likes the pilot, it is quite possible that its live-action Beauty and Beast will join Once Upon a Time and create a two-hour fairy tale block on ABC’s Sunday night schedule next fall.
In fact next fall there could be two live-action versions of Beauty and the Beast on network TV, or there could be none, depending on how the pilots fare. If, in the unlikely event that both series get the greenlight, it would be interesting to compare their approaches to the material to say nothing of their ratings.