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Bushnell books ABC soap skein

Lyne sez 'Up' gives net chance to create 'real' sudser

ABC and Touchstone Television have snapped up the rights to Candace Bushnell’s bestselling novel “Trading Up,” with an eye on turning the tome into a weekly series.

Bushnell, whose New York Observer columns inspired the creation of HBO’s “Sex and the City,” will serve as exec producer on any pilot or series that results from the mid-six-figure deal.

Studio and net are looking for a scribe-producer to write a pilot script for the project, likely an hourlong sudser targeted for a 2004 debut.

Bushnell’s latest novel, “Trading Up” revolves around Janey Wilcox, a lingerie model whose recent success has gone to her head. As she gets drawn into a universe of media moguls and Fifth Avenue penthouses, Wilcox has to decide what she’s willing to do to make her dreams come true.

ABC Entertainment prexy Susan Lyne said “Trading Up” gives the Alphabet the chance to develop a realistic sudser.

“We’ve been looking to do a great primetime soap, but most of the ones we’ve either seen or that have been on the air … never seem real,” she said. “Candace has such a great eye for that rarified world, and this just seemed like a great opportunity to do something that’s really contemporary, fresh and real.”

Bushnell’s previous tomes, “Sex and the City” and “Four Blondes,” each sold more than 1 million copies. “Trading Up” is in its fourth printing and has been on the New York Times bestseller list since its release in July.

Deal was brokered by ICM, Patty Felker and Industry Entertainment.