Gale Anne Hurd and Valhalla Entertainment have optioned the book Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base in the hopes of bringing it to television. If those names sound familiar to you, it’s probably because Hurd and her company are the ones who brought The Walking Dead to the small screen. Deadline reports this new possible series would be an hour long drama centering on “two men working on the base who are thrust into danger when they uncover secrets that the government will protect at any cost.”
Area 51 is actually a bestselling non-fiction book by Annie Jacobsen, and it focuses much more heavily on the crazy happenings at the titular military base that have nothing to do with little grey men: nuclear testing and development, (sometimes horrifying) Cold War experiments, the War on Terror. Jacobsen got her information from interviews with 19 men who had lived and worked in Area 51, sometimes for extended periods. Jacobsen does eventually address the alien conspiracy theories, but her hypothesis lands more on the side of “Cold War government experiments” than actual alien cover-up. Her theories are intriguing and the information her sources revealed is fascinating, though, so the book certainly offers a lot for a television series to work with.
Hurd will executive produce the Area 51 series along with screenwriter Karl Gajdusek (Dead Like Me, Oblivion, The Last Days of American Crime), who will also write and serve as showrunner. This seems like Gajdusek’s first engagement with science fiction (if that is the route they take), but Hurd was a veritable veteran of the genre long before The Walking Dead. She wrote the original Terminator film with James Cameron and has produced many of the sequels and spin-offs, as well as films like Armageddon, Alien Nation, Tremors, and The Abyss. Deadline says Hurd and Valhalla will begin shopping the potential series to networks “shortly”.