Turning teen novel series into web series is becoming a regular thing for Alloy Entertainment, and why not, it seems to be working. The latest sendup from bookshelves is The Clique from author Lisi Harrison. This time Alloy has teamed up with Warner Premiere to develop a live-action version of the teen drama for the digital distribution. Warner has tapped FM78.tv to produce the series, the new media savvy production company headed by Justine Bateman, Jill Kushner and Peter Murrieta.
Murrieta, exec producers of Disney Channel’s Wizard of Waverly Place will executive produce the series along with Alloy’s Leslie Morgenstein and Bob Levy, who produced the 2009 DVD movie version of The Clique. Kushner and Bateman will co-write the script which is currently in development.
By my count, there are 12 books in the series, plus another 5 from a “summer” edition. Each of the books sports cutsy movie puns for titles like “Invasion of the Boy Snatchers,” “Sealed with a Diss” and “The Pretty Committee Strikes Back.”
I asked Justine Bateman about her plans for the live action series, which she says will be less about turning the novels directly into a script as the DVD film version had been. “We’re doing more of an ‘inspired by’ adaptation,” said Bateman. “For the existing fans, we really want to update it for them, while also bringing in a new audience.” New characters and new storylines are planned for the web series.
Despite having a bestselling set of tomes to work from, Bateman hopes to bring her and Kushner’s brand of writing, which she describes as “insightful and comedic and tragic all rolled into one.” “It’s going to be from a real 15 year-old girl’s point of view,” she added. To help better grasp on what’s inside teen heads these days, Bateman hosted a series of small focus groups of 15 year-old girls in Los Angeles, asking everything from what drives them, how their lives are, and what they are watching for entertainment. One finding that stood out was a overwhelming like for BBC series called Skins, a “more authentic and more hard core” story of modern teen life.
The project is currently slated for 6 episodes, each around 15 minutes in length, and is being distributed by Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. Warner Bros. wasn’t able to comment on their specific plans for distribution yet, and it’s not clear whether the series will make use of Alloy’s digital network and its flagship Teen.com site. The project was set up with Warner Premiere before Alloy had formed its new digital division back in April. Shooting is expected to begin late this fall.