The long wait for a screen adapation of Stephen King's epic series "The Dark Tower" is nearing an end -- and it appears the payoff will be huge. The Hollywood Reporter says Universal's film and TV divisions will jointly produce three movies and a TV series based on "The Dark Tower," which comprises seven novels plus short stories and comic books. Ron Howard is slated to direct the first film and the first season of the TV show, according to The Hollywood Reporter. As the saga's legions of fans know, "The Dark Tower" follows the so-called Gunslinger who searches for a mythical black tower. "I've been waiting for the right team to bring the characters and stories in these books to film and TV viewers around the world," King told THR. "The Gunslinger," the first novel in the series, was published in 1982. The seventh and final installment, "The Dark Tower," came out 22 years later, in 2004.