Can’t get enough of The Hunger Games? The CW thought you might say that. The young-skewing network is hoping that Katniss and Co.’s success at the box office (more than $300 million, and counting, in the U.S. alone) will translate to interest in The Selection, a pilot in contention for fall. Friday Night Lights’ Aimee Teegarden stars as a girl chosen to enter a fierce competition to marry the prince of a war-torn society.
Like The Hunger Games, The CW’s The Selection is based on a series of books, the first of which will be released April 24. The two titles also share a dystopian setting, but the similarities mostly end there. “It’s light dystopian,” says author Kiera Cass’ agent, Elana Roth. “Kiera calls it ‘diet dystopian.’ Kiera’s characters are not killing each other; it’s a love story, a fairy tale.” Roth says she eventually found that the books could be best described as “The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor.” Now that’s how everyone’s describing the CW project as well. Says Roth: “I said to myself, that sounded ridiculous but kind of awesome at the same time.”
The CW executive vice president Thom Sherman says the network hopes to potentially launch The Selection (adapted for TV by Angel alums Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain) off of Hunger Games mania, much like The Vampire Diaries got a boost from the Twilight phenomenon. “From what we’ve heard, this is the next book series that will capture everyone’s imagination,” Sherman says.
Roth marvels at the good timing – as HarperCollins’ book deal to publish “The Selection” trilogy was signed back in 2010, long before anyone knew when The Hunger Games would be released or if “The Selection” might be turned into a TV or film property. Warner Bros. TV optioned the book soon after, but as Roth notes, “options are sprinkles on the cake. No one expects anything to come of them, and very few actually end up in development.”
That’s where the buzz surrounding The Hunger Games helped. “It’s funny, two years ago I didn’t think about it this way,” Roth says. “It’s a happy circumstance.” The Selection, which shot its pilot in Vancouver, still has to make that final hurdle: Landing a slot on The CW’s fall schedule. That lineup is crowded with contenders, including hot pilots Arrow (based on DC Comics’ Green Arrow) and The Carrie Diaries.