Exclusive: First entirely new series from 'Once Upon' team in years

The Once Upon a Time creators are launching a horror series.

Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis have received a series order for a project titled Dead of Summer from ABC Family (a.k.a. the Network Soon to Be Known as “Freeform”). Once Upon writer Ian Goldberg is also on board as the showrunner for the project which represents ABC Family’s first-ever horror series.

Dead of Summer is about what happens when summer camp goes wrong – really, really wrong,” said Karey Burke, executive vice president of programming for ABC Family. “The horror genre is new for us and I’m thrilled to have Adam, Eddy and Ian bring their immeasurable talent to our network and usher us into this new space.”

We’re hearing the show was originally pitched as a “John Hughes meets John Carpenter” anthology series,* with the first season set in 1989.

The official series logline: “Set in the late 1980s, school is out for the summer, and a sun-drenched season of firsts beckons the counselors at Camp Clearwater, a seemingly idyllic Midwestern summer camp, including first loves, first kisses – and first kills. Clearwater’s dark, ancient mythology awakens, and what was supposed to be a summer of fun soon turns into one of unforgettable scares and evil at every turn. Part coming-of-age story, part supernatural horror story, Dead of Summer is a bold, new series that mixes genres as it examines the light and dark of a summer like no other.”

The Dead of Summer deal doesn’t necessarily mean anything dire for the future of Once Upon as many producers have more than one drama on the air (heck, Shonda Rhimes would probably be bored with two shows). Still, this represents the first entirely new series for Horowitz and Kitsis (so not including the Wonderland spin-off) since launching Once Upon in 2011.

In addition to Once Upon, Horowitz and Kitsis also wrote the film Tron: Legacy, and worked on ABC’s Lost. ABC Family is flipping the switch to become Freeform in January and the new show is produced by ABC Signature/ABC Studios. Other ABC Family new shows coming up include the supernatural series Beyond from executive producer Tim Kring; thriller series Guilt, and the pilot Famous in Love from Pretty Little Liars producer Marlene King, and the a Nicki Minaj comedy project. They have also announced additional seasons of established series Switched at Birth and Young & Hungry, as well as a second season of unscripted show Monica the Medium.

*That photo above is from a Friday the 13th film, which was directed by neither Hughes nor Carpenter, but it’s the closest image to a representational photo we could think of.