One of the CW’s brightest hopes for next season is a show about a young girl in a futuristic, war-torn nation who is chosen by lottery to compete for fame and fortune against a backdrop of hunger and carnage.
Sound familiar? The CW hopes so.
“The Selection” is one of eight pilots the ratings-challenged CW is considering as a fall series; it will make its decisions this spring.
The hope is that “The Selection” might ride the success of “The Hunger Games” the way the network’s biggest hit, “The Vampire Diaries,” has surfed the “Twilight” phenomenon.
And it’s no coincidence that the new series is written and produced by “Vampire Diaries” writers Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain.
All began as young adult novels, and the network acknowledges that “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games” stirred its interest in “The Vampire Diaries” and now “The Selection.” But that doesn’t make the shows rip-offs.
The “Vampire Diaries” novels predated the “Twilight” books by more than a decade. And the author of the novel “The Selection,” the basis for the pilot, remembers jotting down the idea for it before “The Hunger Games” hit bookshelves.
But in the case of both “The Vampire Diaries” and “The Selection,” the successful film adaptation of one series of books spawned an interest in a TV version of a different but similar series of novels.
HarperCollins will publish “The Selection,” the first book in a planned trilogy, on April 24. Its author, Kiera Cass, says she first wrote down the idea in the summer of 2008 – soon before the first book in Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” trilogy was published.
Though she developed her ideas independently, she recognized that the success of Collins’ series could help her sell her story, she said.
“I totally see how it lines up with ‘The Hunger Games’ — there’s a lottery aspect, a competition, it’s in the future — and when we went to pitch it to editors, that’s how my agent and I described it: ‘The Hunger Games’ meets ‘The Bachelor,'” Cass told TheWrap. “I don’t think we expected that label to stick. But it kind of works. It’s a lot lighter than ‘The Hunger Games’ though, so if that’s something people are looking for, then they might really enjoy my book.”
Or the show. Craft and Fain’s pilot script makes no bones about its similarities to “The Hunger Games.” A mention of the franchise appears on the first page of a recent draft, which also explains the rigid caste system in Cass’ imagined land of Illea: “As in THE HUNGER GAMES,” the script reads, “this future is harsh but lush.”
But perhaps not as harsh as the one in “The Hunger Games.”
Would you watch it?