DRACULA: Is NBC Targeting the Cable Audience?

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Last season, NBC not only pushed the envelope, they ripped the damn thing right open with Bryan Fuller's oftentimes surreal take on Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter.

Hannibal had more bizarre imagery and blood than pretty much all the other shows on the broadcast networks combined, and now it’s looking like they’re trying it again with this Friday’s Dracula, which certainly doesn’t seem to be shying away from bloodletting.

The real question, of course, is whether or not this is NBC’s attempt to compete with cable: Offer up limited runs (Dracula’s first season is only 10 episodes) with material that would more likely be found on FX’s American Horror Story than the Peacock Network.

Cole Haddon, who created Dracula, which stars The Tudors’ Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the title role, offers this:

I don’t know if I can speak to what NBC intended. I can speak to what I hoped from the experience and what I originally pitched to NBC and what they seemed to respond to, which was a cable grade show that would also work for network television. This is something that Sky [the British partner on the series] also asked as they are much more cable-grade to begin with in England. The use of buckets of blood is something that I pushed for from the beginning.

I think that comes from my love for Hammer Films — just blood splattering everywhere. It’s a fun element to monster horror when done correctly. That certainly helps with cable audiences, but I don’t think it’s being done just to invite more of a cable audience. I just think it’s appropriate to the material and we were lucky enough that NBC wanted to air the show on the network instead of pushing us off to somewhere on cable. I don’t know how you could have done this show without it. I’m a great fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it always blew my mind that they went seven seasons on a vampire show with almost no glimpses of blood.

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