In a post titled “The Wild Cards Are Coming…to Television,” Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin announced on his livejournal site yesterday that Universal Cable Productions has acquired the rights to adapt his Wild Cards book series. “Development will begin immediately on what we hope will be the first of several interlocking series,” he wrote.

The TV series could be “coming to your home screens in the next year or two,” Martin wrote, adding that he himself won’t be working on the show. “(M)y own development deal is exclusive to HBO, and I am writing The Winds of Winter, as I believe most of you will recall… but I have every confidence in Melinda Snodgrass and Gregory Noveck. They know and love the Wild Cards universe almost as well as I do, and I think they will do a terrific job.”

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George R.R. Martin

Wild Cards is a 22-volume (to date) book series – the first volume published in 1986 – set in an alternate world. Martin’s blog describes Wild Cards thusly: “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.”

Translations and reprints of Wild Cards books and stories have been published around the globe, with comic books, graphic novels, and role-playing games also chronicling the adventures of the aces and jokers of the Wild Card universe.

Universal Cable Productions, a part of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, will adapt the “anthologies and mosaic novels” for television, Martin said.

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George R.R. Martin livejournal

“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.”

UCP programming includes Mr. Robot, Colony, Royal Pains and Suits, among many others.

According to Martin’s site, writers, including himself, that have contributed to the Wild Card universe over three decades have included Howard Waldrop, Walter Jon Williams, Stephen Leigh, Victor Milan, John Jos. Miller, Gail Gerstner Miller, Edward Bryant and Leanne C. Harper, to name a very few.

Martin said he didn’t yet know which stories and characters other than “the Sleeper” will be adapted for the TV series. “It wouldn’t be Wild Cards without the Sleeper,” he wrote.