George R.R. Martin revealed that his television career was derailed by a failed show about two decades before HBO’s “Game of Thrones” would become a TV hit.
While accepting an award Wednesday for his contribution to the field of TV at his alma mater Northwestern University, according to Vulture, Martin discussed the unfolding of his career. He had previously written for TV shows like “The Twilight Zone” and 1993’s “Beauty and the Beast,” and worked his way up through the ranks to the point where creating his own show was the next step.
Martin created a show called “Doorways,” in which three competing news journalists track Jack the Ripper in 1890s New York. ABC produced the pilot in 1992 and ordered six additional episode scripts.
“I hired six writers,” Martin recalled. “And we spent half a year developing and polishing and getting ready to shoot the first six episodes when we got the green light. But we never did.”
ABC passed on “Doorways.” Its chance of being picked up by another network was dashed about a year later when a similar time-jumping show called “Sliders” premiered on Fox and went on for five seasons.
“When ‘Doorways’ failed to go, and all the other shows I had been developing didn’t get to the pilot stage, people suddenly stopped returning my calls,” the 67-year-old writer said. “You get a certain amount of strikes out there in Hollywood. You’re as successful as your last project, so that was kind of a bitter disappointment for me.”
In 1991, Martin turned to writing the “A Song of Fire and Ice” novels, which would become the basis for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” in 2011. He now serves as an executive producer and writer on the series. Looking back, Martin can see the bright side of the failure of “Doorways,” which would have been difficult to make on the budget ABC had planned for it.
“I would have produced an ambitious but severely crippled television show that might not have been the show I really wanted it to be,” he said. “And, failing that, I wrote this ‘Game of Thrones’ thing, and that worked out pretty well.”
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