Blood Money: New Ideas to Cash in on Vampires

“True Blood” — with its brilliant vision of persecuted vampires and the humans who love and hate them — may have been the hottest show of the summer. “The Vampire Diaries” premiered this fall on the CW, polished fangs and perfect hair like any teen soap opera. Now, today, we get the second installment of the film and book juggernaut that seems to have inspired those television shows as “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” premieres to hordes of screaming teens. (And the way they shriek, you would have thought Robert Pattinson had laid into an artery.)

If you haven’t guessed, vampires are hot, hot, hot on both the big screen and small screen, as well as in the bookstores, where Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series sits alongside the relative classics of Anne Rice. But instead of feeling fang fatigue at all this bloodsucker ballyhoo, I’m pondering how I can cash in on this fad before it’s gone. Here are a few ideas for TV (I thought I’d start small then work my way up to movies). If anyone in Hollywood happens to be reading, call me. We’ll do lunch — or at least a brunch of Bloody Marys.

Like Dracula, CBS’ perennially popular procedural franchise seems to reside among the undead. We have spinoffs in New York and Miami, so why not one that focuses on the mysteries surrounding vampire slayings in their homeland, in the Carpathians, birthplace of the legendary Count Dracula? Every episode a hapless human is turned into a midnight snack, and every episode a vampire is brought to justice with the brutal efficiency of a 46-minute airtime. Whether performing forensics tests in an ancient castle or shopping for the perfect wooden stake, these criminologists put Van Helsing to shame.

IRON CHEF AMERICA — A VAMPIRE HALLOWEEN: The adventurous judges on this cooking competition show seem to prefer their meat on the bloody side, so I thought we could have a special Halloween episode in which an Iron Chef faces off against a vampire who likes to cook (they really do favor the raw food diet most of the time, don’t they?). The secret ingredient will be blood, of course. Bobby Flay will find a way to incorporate B-negative into an A-plus sauce for his black bean and corn enchiladas not to mention a refreshing sorbet with a hint of blood orange juice, but our guest chef will win them over with an amazing, garlic-free Italian entree — a piece of meat covered in a plasma jus that makes the usual red sauce seem uninspired. But the deciding dish is dessert, a young virgin who has been lightly anesthetized, her neck punctured to allow the aroma of blood to waft like a fine wine to the diner’s nose. Judge Jeffrey Steingarten (“The Man Who Ate Everything”) will call it “simply delicious.” Bobby Flay — not content to take second place this time — will serve up a surprise dish at the end, treating his rival to a hardy stake.

INTERVIEWS WITH THE VAMPIRES: Why should Tom Cruise have a monopoly on conversations with creatures of the night? Sure, he dressed decadently to portray the New Orleans vampire Lestat and jumped up and down on Oprah’s coach to proclaim his love to a “Dawson’s Creek” star and his hatred of antidepressants, but this talk show will survey plenty of vampires and the actors who play them. Sort of a late-night “View,” our panel — wearing crucifixes and garlic necklaces, while eschewing a traditional embrace in their welcomes — will keep us abreast of the latest vampire trends and projects (such as “Twilight: Part 85”), while interviewing bloodsuckers about their childhoods and other traumas. Watch Barbara Walters bring a murderous bloodsucker to tears as he explains how he was never able to go play in the park with other kids because the sun would have burnt his skin to a crisp and transmuted his bones into powder.

GREY’S ANATOMY WITH A BIT OF RED: This spinoff of the popular medical drama focuses on a hospital in Seattle (where sun isn’t a huge concern) whose star new doctor is a vampire. Alive for 400 years, Dr. Vlad has been able to see a staggering array of medical advancements firsthand. While working the night shift and trying to keep his identity secret, Dr. Vlad has affairs with sexy residents while helping himself to the largess of the hospital’s blood bank. Dr. Vlad must balance his desire to help humans with his craving for their blood, so every time an accident victim or a victim of violent crime is wheeled in on a gurney as a bloody mess, he finds himself torn between setting up an IV and sinking his fangs into their gaping wounds to feed. In the end he does his best to save them, but when he declares them dead and clears the room, the new corpses are fair game.

VAMPIRES FOR GEEKS: With a tip of the hat to “Lost,” “24,” “Flash Forward” and “Heroes,” a dozen vampires from all over the world wake up mysteriously on an island having suffered a blackout in which they all experienced visions of a murder that will take place against one of their own by a group of humans. Where are the humans? The vampires seem to be deserted on this island, but they all now have various superpowers (beyond their usual vampire powers!). The show takes place in real time as the vampires use the clues from the blackout and their new superpowers to try to thwart a vampire assassination, all the while trying to figure out why they’re trapped on that island.

I think that last one will be quite an original show. My only fear is that by the time we are able to mount a production with such elaborate effects and production values, the vampire fad will be on the way out. With the character of Jacob gaining popularity in the “Twilight” series, perhaps it’s time to switch to werewolves.

Surely, they will be the hot new supernatural creature of the next decade, so maybe we can have werewolves on an island instead. I guess I’ll pitch both, and see if the studio executives bite. Hmm, a Hollywood satire in the style of “The Player” but with studio executives who are vampires. That’s not bad. There must be a reason they’re so fond of bleeding-heart liberals. I’ll write up a proposal to send their way — and I’ll include a vial of O regular just in case.

Colin Powers is a Madison, Wisconsin-based editor and graphic designer. He has more than a dozen years of newspaper experience, including a stint as Life and Arts Editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer before its demise in March.


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