Books Are The New Television PitchesS

One of the year's breakout hits, True Blood, is based on Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books. And now, suddenly authors like Robert J. Sawyer, M.J. Rose and John Updike are spawning TV pilots.

We've already written a lot about Robert J. Sawyer's novel Flash Forward becoming a new ABC show, from producers David S. Goyer and Brannon Braga. Sawyer's novel tells of an incident where everyone on Earth has a blackout and sees 21 years into the future, as a result of an experiment by physicists. It already sounds like Goyer and Braga are taking major liberties with the concept to make it television-friendly, like making the flash forward only show people five months into the future, not 21 years. And each season will end with another flash-forward, further into the future, carrying the story forward.

Meanwhile, the late and lamented (as of today) John Updike lived just long enough to see his novel The Witches Of Eastwick picked up for a television series, also on ABC. (To be fair, the TV show may also be based more on the movie version, starring Jack Nicholson.) According to Variety, the new TV show (the second attempt, after a failed 2002 pilot) will retell Updike's book, focusing on three women in a small town who discover they have magical powers when a mysterious man arrives in town.

And now, e-book pioneer and erotica mastermind M.J. Rose is the latest author to turn a book into a TV series, according to Publisher's Marketplace. The Reincarnationist tells the story of a investigator who solves people's problems by untangling their issues from their past lives. (And the main character, Josh, also discovers he was a priest who slept with a vestal virgin in a past life, and some bad people are looking for special stones that help you reach your next life.) Warner Bros. is producing a pilot, with Rose as executive producer, for Fox.