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CW president Mark Pedowitz really wants a show with the tone of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones on the network, with a rewrite on The Selection and talks to adapt cult favorite Battle Royale under way.
The Selection was put in redevelopment in May after the network failed to order the effort to series. The buzzy pilot starring Friday Night Lights‘ Aimee Teegarden based on the books by Kiera Cass is being eyed for midseason, with producers currently rewriting the script.
“It just wasn’t where we wanted to be tone-wise,” Pedowitz said of the Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain effort described an epic romance set 300 years in the future revolving on poor young woman (Teegarden) who is chosen by lottery to participate in a competition to become the next queen of a war-torn nation at a crossroads.
“Hopefully we see something soon and make a determination if we go forward,” he said, noting there would be some casting changes should it move to pilot again. “I’m a big believer in the show, I really wanted a show that has a Game of Thrones–Hunger Games tone and we hope it’s The Selection. If it’s not, then we will go to another area.”
Among the options are the 2000 Japanese feature Battle Royale, which Pedowitz said “comes with a nice cult following” and is “one of the predecessors of a lot of these things we do today.”
The youth-skewing network has found success in capturing pop culture — and ratings — with The Vampire Diaries, which the CW developed at the start of the Twilight craze to capitalize on the vampire craze both on TV and in film.
As for how series the network’s talks are to develop Battle Royale, he said it was just a phone call to explore whether the network could obtain rights to the controversial movie, which like Hunger Games, is set in a dystopian future in which high school students are forced to fight one another to the death and based on Koushun Takumi‘s novel of the same name.
“At this point in time, it’s only in development and we’re not even in development,” he said. “All we did was a phone call. We’re not planning to do anything that we cannot get on the air.”
Asked specifically if the network would put a series on the air about high school students killing one another amid a media landscape in which violence on TV and in film is being examined in the wake of the deadly shootings in Colorado at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, Pedowitz was candid.
“No we’re not going to go in that direction,” he said. “We’re going to wait to see what happens and how things develop.”
And should things work out for Selection and Battle Royale, Pedowitz said there’s certainly room on the air for both. “Sure, different audiences for different things, different places,” he said.
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