Game of Thrones

author George R.R. Martin could be on the verge of another TV hit.

The author announced on his blog that Universal Cable Productions has acquired the rights to develop his long-running Wild Cards series.

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Martin says, "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 percent died horribly, drawing the black queen, 9 percent were twisted and deformed into jokers, while a lucky 1 percent became blessed with extraordinary and unpredictable powers and became aces. The world was never the same."

Martin says the project is a series of interlocking books, graphic novels and games all part of a universe "as large and diverse and exciting" as those of Marvel and DC - "though somewhat grittier, and considerably more realistic and more consistent".

But while it seems Martin's attention might have been pulled from his hugely successful series A Song of Ice and Fire (upon which Game of Thrones is based), fans need not worry.

Martin has signed an exclusive development agreement with HBO for Thrones, so will not be working on the Wild Cards project. His assistant editor Melinda Snodgrass (Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Outer Limits, Reasonable Doubts) and Gregory Noveck will stand in as executive producers instead.

Marin says: "They know and love the Wild Cards universe almost as well as I do, and I think they will do a terrific job".

Martin hopes Universal Cable Productions - which is behind projects like Mr. Robot, Suits, 12 Monkeys, The Magicians and Killjoys - will have Wild Cards on screens "in the next year or two."