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‘Perks’ guy in pics; Nerve racking up deals

STEVE CHBOSKY, AUTHOR of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” is not likely to remain a wallflower for long: He’s been tapped by Miramax to adapt the Tony-decorated Broadway musical “Rent” for the bigscreen. He’s also writing and directing “Finger Nails and Smooth Skin” for GreeneStreet. The film is being cast, and an offer has reportedly been made to Robert Downey Jr.

Chbosky rewrote “Audrey Hepburn’s Neck” for Miramax and “Schoolhouse Rock” for Jersey Films.

MTV Books, an imprint of Pocket Books, has just printed its 100,000th copy of “Wallflower,” making it the most successful title in the trade paperback fiction series that MTV Books launched in 1998.

Producers have circled “Wallflower,” but it remains unoptioned. One industry insider calls Chbosky “New York’s best-kept secret.”

Although MTV has yet to produce an original film or series based on any MTV fiction, there have been offers. Miramax optioned the third book in the series, Tod Goldberg’s “Fake Liar Cheat.”

Pocket deputy publisher Kara Welsh attributes the success of “Wallflower” in part to the fluid relationship between Viacom affiliates MTV and Pocket. “It’s a coming-of-age story aimed right at the MTV audience,” she said. MTV produced an on-air spot for the book — a marketing coup enjoyed by few novels, especially first novels by little-known writers. It was also promoted on the book page of MTV.com.

Pocket senior editor Greer Hendricks edits the MTV fiction series. Chbosky’s lit agent is Jack Horner at ICM. Leora Bloch and Jeff Gorin at ICM represent him for features.

MTV Books has also just inked a deal to publish “MTV Uncensored,” an oral history of the net to be released next summer to coincide with the music cabler’s 20th anniversary. Members of MTV’s programming department helped write and design the book, which will feature contributions from various celeb guests.

THE SMALL BUT AMBITIOUSLY entrepreneurial media company Nerve.com, founded by Rufus Griscom and Genevieve Field in 1997, has named Ross Martin veep of film and TV development.

The appointment reflects an ongoing effort by Nerve, which began as a Web site purveying “literate smut,” to expand its brand into other arenas, particularly film and TV. Nerve, which retains Good Machine partner Ted Hope on its board of advisers, is taking an aggressive approach to selling dramatic rights to content.

Most magazine writers pocket wholesale any film option emerging from an assignment; contributors to Nerve.com and its bimonthly print counterpart (now boasting a 65,000-copy circulation) grant Nerve a stake as large as 75%, however.

In return, Nerve ambitiously sells the content to Hollywood. At least two major production deals are expected to be announced in the weeks ahead; as with any production deal reached by the company, they will involve a “presented by” credit for Nerve. Griscom would eventually like to create both a film label and a 24-hour cable network.

“We see ourselves as a factory of great sex-related stories,” he said.

In keeping with that vision, Nerve has released a spoken-word CD, published one book (“Nerve: Literate Smut”), is under contract for three more and co-presented David Schisgall’s docu on swingers, “The Lifestyle.” Nerve also opened a merchandise line and a small PR firm that counts among its clients Ira Deutchman’s digital production company, StudioNext.

Martin was previously a story editor and production exec at 40 Acres & a Mule Filmworks. His responsibilities at Nerve include helping to shape editorial ideas to make them more suitable for adaptation, as well as packaging and pitching projects for film and TV.

MOSHAG PRODS. HAS OPTIONED an article from Details magazine describing the competitive world of championship dog Frisbee. “Bark Raving Mad,” written by Benjamin Wallace, appeared in Details in February.

Moshag head Mark Mower has attached two writers, Michael Mayer and Joshua Neuman, and likens the tone of the project to that of “Happy Gilmore.”

Mayer wrote and will direct feature pic “The Squeeze” and wrote and directed a short, “The Robber,” that has played on HBO.

Moshag recently set up “57, Chicago” with Miramax.

Wallace is repped by Lucy Stille at Paradigm, and Gary Morris at the David Black Literary Agency. Mayer and Neuman are repped by Mark Halloran of Erickson & Halloran. Mower is repped by Philip Rosen of Rosen & Anderson.

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