The Institute

Stephen King’s New Novel The Institute Headed for TV

David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies, The Undoing, The Lincoln Lawyer) and Jack Bender (Mr. Mercedes, Lost, The Outsider) are developing The Institute, Stephen King’s new novel, as a limited series from Spyglass, Variety has confirmed.

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The Institute follows Luke Ellis whose parents are murdered in the middle of the night by intruders. Luke wakes up at The Institute in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. Outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents, such as telekinesis and telepathy, who got there the same way Luke did.

Kelley will write and executive produce the series with Bender directing and executive producing. This will be the second time the duo has worked on a King series adaptation together, as they previously collaborated on Audience Network’s Mr. Mercedes, which is entering its third season. The Institute is also part of Bender’s multi-year first-look deal with Bender.

“Having the opportunity to work on a new and brilliant book by Stephen King is an absolute privilege. We are thrilled to collaborate with this dream team, including the incomparable David E. Kelley, and Jack Bender, the architect behind this project, whose extensive directing and executive producing credits speak for themselves. After such a competitive pursuit, we have big plans for The Institute here at Spyglass,” said Lauren Whitney, Spyglass president of television.

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The full Amazon description for The Institute novel, available to purchase now, reads: In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.


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