Following ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ TV Jumps on the S&M Bandwagon

Source: Universal Studios

With the film version of the mega-popular novel series Fifty Shades of Grey set to pack titillated women into theaters on Valentine’s Day, the television world is looking to jump on the S&M bandwagon, as well. Televisa USA has announced plans to adapt Anne Rice’s pre-Grey S&M Sleeping Beauty trilogy into a television series with Dallas Buyers Club producer Rachel Winter, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Rice’s erotic BDSM Sleeping Beauty novels — The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment, and Beauty’s Release — were published under the pseudonym A.N. Rolenquare between 1983 and 1985. The novels are a re-imagining of the traditional Sleeping Beauty story in which the sleeping princess is awoken in a much more explicit manner than a kiss and then spends time as the prince’s sex slave, rather than his one true love. The books were an underground erotica hit for years before being rebranded and republished under Rice’s name after the immense popularity of Fifty Shades, which brought them mainstream attention, as well.

The huge popularity of the Fifty Shades of Grey series has surprised publishers, literary critics, and lots of other people as a huge demographic of women has responded to the story of young college student Anastasia Steele, who is seduced by her billionaire boss, Christian Grey, who’s only into sex if he gets to do the dominating. Somehow the popularity of Fifty Shades made those books and S&M practices a common topic of discussion among people you might not have thought would even know such a thing existed.

“Its popularity has come as a bit of a surprise to publishers, who thought they knew what women wanted. It must be a bit like being married to someone for 20 years, and suddenly finding out they like fisting,” according to a column on the books by The Guardian, though that surprise could be extended much further than just the publishing world. Those sexy novels are the fastest-selling books for adults of all time.

Grey is basically guaranteed to make a ton of money at the box office, and two more films are planned to finish out the trilogy, but why should author E.L. James have all the fun when she hardly invented S&M herself? Now, publishers and producers are looking for more entertainment with fairly mild S&M that might appeal to the fans who bought so many copies of Fifty Shades. Rice’s Sleeping Beauty trilogy has already proven to do so. The medieval setting with a familiar fairytale story plus the S&M subject matter will catch the interest of fans of fantasy, historical fiction, and erotica.

“I wrote this to be fun, in the belief that dominance and submission can be romantic and delightful as well as erotic,” Rice said, per The Hollywood Reporter. The author also announced earlier this year that she’s working on a fourth installment of the series 30 years after the last one was published.

“Now is the perfect moment for this project. On the heels of such boundary-pushing adaptations as Fifty Shades and HBO’s Game of Thrones, the topics explored in this series are in the zeitgeist and we feel television is finally ready for them. We are now going out to writers and talent, and will put all the creative, production and distribution elements in place quickly,” said Televisa’s chief creative officer, Michael Garcia, to the publication.

The company clearly isn’t going to waste any time getting the show on the road, as the Fifty Shades obsession is only going to get hotter as the movie gets closer to its release.

Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS

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