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George R.R. Martin announced on his blog yesterday that, though Game of Thrones may be winding down, television producers aren’t planning to let our small screens be devoid of his creative ideas for very long. Universal Cable Productions (UCP, a division of NBCUniversal, which owns such channels as USA and SyFy) has picked up the development rights to start developing his next series for television. There’s just one small detail: it’s got nothing to do with Westeros.
They’re developing Wild Cards.
Universal Cable Productions (UCP) has acquired the rights to adapt our long-running Wild Cards series of anthologies and mosaic novels for television. Development will begin immediately on what we hope will be the first of several interlocking series. Melinda M. Snodgrass, my assistant editor and right-hand man on Wild Cards since its inception, the creator of Dr. Tachyon, Double Helix, and Franny Black, and a seasoned television writer/ producer whose credits include STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION (“Measure of a Man”), REASONABLE DOUBTS, THE PROFILER, and STAR COMMAND, is attached as an executive producer on the project, together with Gregory Noveck of RED, Slow Learner, and SyFy Films
Note that Martin is not listed as an executive produce. That’s because, even though he started the anthology series back in the 1980s and continues to oversee and edit it today, he’s not actually part of this. He can’t be. His development contract is exclusive to HBO, which means he can’t go developing his properties in other places. That’s why he’s emphasizing that this is being lead and executive produced by Wild Cards assistant editor Melinda Snodgrass. (It also leads to speculation if this was being developed for HBO and they passed because it’s not set in Westeros? But that’s pure gueswork.)
He also notes he already has a lot on his plate anyway, with The Winds of Winter and all. But he has every confidence that Snodgrass will do the series proud. He also eagerly talks the series up to Game of Thrones fans who might not know much about it.
The shared world of the Wild Cards diverged from our own on September 15, 1946 when an alien virus was released in the skies over Manhattan, and spread across an unsuspecting Earth. Of those infected, 90% died horribly, drawing the black queen, 9% were twisted and deformed into jokers, while a lucky 1% became blessed with extraordinary and unpredictable powers and became aces. The world was never the same.
Since the show is still in the early stages, he says it has not been decided if the show will stick to an anthology format (over a dozen or more authors have contributed to the series over the last 30 years) or if it will try and develop a more linear narrative. And he doesn’t even get into which of NBCUniversal’s myriad of channels it might land on, although SyFy seems the most likely answer.