Desperate to cash in on the phenomenal success of The Hunger Games, The CW has expressed some interest in producing a television series based on the Japanese novel Battle Royale, a similar but more violent tale about teenagers being forced to fight to the death that came long before Hunger Games. In the book, a random high school class is deposited on an island and told that the only way to escape is to kill all of their classmates and be the last one left alive.
The novel spawned two controversial cult movies in Japan, and the idea of New Line Cinema doing an American film adaptation floated around until the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007 stalled the project. The subsequent release of The Hunger Games earlier this year was the final nail in the coffin because American audiences would now see a Battle Royale movie as a direct rip-off, even though Koushoun Takami released his novel in 1999 and the original film came out in 2000. It's questionable how a network that attracts a core demographic of females 18 to 34 would adapt such a premise into a weekly television series, and it seems as if CW entertainment president Mark Pedowitz was a bit confused himself during the recent TCA press tour in Beverly Hills.
While he stressed that the only action that had been taken was a phone call inquiring about the rights to the book, the unfortunately-named Pedowitz admitted that the CW would "love" to do a Battle Royale TV show if another similar series they have in development, The Selection, doesn't pan out. When pressed by a critic who was incredulous that the network would produce a show about high school kids murdering each other in the current media climate, Pedowitz cryptically responded that they weren't "going to go in that direction," proving that he clearly knows nothing about the content of the book or the film.
So if it does happen, it will likely be a watered-down prime-time soap opera in which nobody gets killed on-screen, begging the question: why even bother calling it Battle Royale?