EXCLUSIVE: With their sharp fashion sense and busy social life in Manhattan, the young ladies from the CW’s Gossip Girl often evoke Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw. Now a teen version of Bradshaw herself may be joining the CW’s lineup. I hear that the CW has emerged as the leading candidate for The Carrie Diaries, a TV series project based on Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell’s recent book about Bradshaw’s high school years. There are no deals in place, and talks are in preliminary stages, but I hear that Warner Bros TV would produce and Gossip Girl executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage are being courted to shepherd the project through their Warner Bros TV-based Fake Empire banner. Former Sex and the City writer/producer Amy Harris, who is writing for Gossip Girl this season, will likely pen the adaptation.

Because it previously adapted Bushnell’s Sex and the City into a hugely popular series, HBO has the rights to The Carrie Diaries, a young-adult novel that chronicles Carrie’s senior year of high school in a small New England town. But since the book is much younger skewing than HBO’s audience, the pay cable network had been seeking another outlet for the potential series. “Discussions are underway for The Carrie Diaries, Candace Bushnell’s book about Carrie Bradshaw’s high school years, to find a home as a potential television series,” HBO said in a statement.

Because of its position as a Time Warner corporate sibling to HBO and its young female target demographic, the CW, which is co-owned by Warner Bros and CBS, was an obvious choice and is expected to be pitched the show. Another Time Warner company, Warner Bros TV, would produce. Because of their expertise in high school series with The O.C. and Gossip Girl, Schwartz and Savage also are obvious choices to oversee The Carrie Diaries and are expected to executive produce alongside Bushnell. I hear the idea is for new series to be done with a new creative team. Sex and the City creator Darren Star will not be involved, and a representative for Sarah Jessica Parker said that, at least for now, the star and executive producer of the original series is not attached to The Carrie Diaries either. Ditto for Sex and the City showrunner Michael Patrick King, though he is based at Warner Bros TV and could potentially pitch in. However, King recently dismissed any involvement in a Sex and the City prequel. Asked to address the flurry of rumors about a movie prequel based on Bushnell’s novels The Carrie Diaries and Summer and the City, King said at TCA, “I’m not working on any Sex and the City prequel at all. I haven’t read Candace’s Bushnell’s books. … My Carrie Bradshaw started at 33 and I took her to 43 — I don’t even want to know who Carrie Bradshaw’s parents are … the idea of going backward, making her less evolved, is something that I can’t even imagine doing.” Ironically, rumored to play Samantha in the movie prequel was none other than Gossip Girl star Blake Lively.