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George R.R. Martin’s ‘Wild Cards’ in Development at Universal Cable Productions

“Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin could soon have another sprawling fantasy world on television. Variety has confirmed that Universal Cable Productions has acquired the rights to develop Martin’s anthology series “Wild Cards,” after the author announced the deal on his personal blog. Due to Martin’s exclusive development agreement with HBO, the author will not be working on the project, with Martin’s assistant editor Melinda Snodgrass (whose television credits include “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “The Outer Limits,” and “Reasonable Doubts”) and Gregory Noveck executive producing instead.

According to Martin, “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.”

Martin describes the project as “a series of interlocking books, graphic novels, games… but most of all it is a universe, as large and diverse and exciting as the comic book universes of Marvel and DC (though somewhat grittier, and considerably more realistic and more consistent), with an enormous cast of characters both major and minor.”

The first volume in the series was published in 1986, with 22 volumes released to date. Numerous authors have contributed to the series over the years, with dozens of characters and hundreds of storylines available for adaptation. Martin expressed hope that the series would make it to screens “in the next year or two.”

Universal Cable Productions is behind USA’s “Mr. Robot,” “Colony” and “Suits,” Syfy’s “12 Monkeys,” “The Magicians” and “Killjoys,” E!’s “The Royals,” Bravo’s “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” and Hulu’s “Difficult People,” among others.

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