Fictional mystery writer in 'Castle' creates another real bestseller with 'Naked Heat'
It's not exactly a novel idea to create a TV show based on a bestseller ("True Blood," "Dexter," "Gossip Girl"), but turning a plot device into a bestselling book has become a popular trend in prime time (but not a new one). ABC's quirky crime drama "Castle" has churned out two bestsellers: "Heat Wave" (16 weeks on New York Times list), and its sequel, "Naked Heat" (No. 19 on Los Angeles Times list), which were used in key storylines. Carolyn Kellogg examines this publishing phenomena in Friday's Calendar section.
Publishing the books was a natural progression as "Castle's" premise began with a serial killer imitating the plots of the show's star, famous mystery writer Richard Castle's books. The charming, wise-cracking novelist (played with panache by Nathan Fillion) and the tough, sexy, NYPD Det. Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), whom he accompanies to crimes scenes to assist in solving cases, exchange innuendo-filled banter reminiscent of David and Maddie in "Moonlighting".
Other shows have experimented with this type of cross marketing with varying degrees of success.
In 2001, HarperEntertainment published a novel featured on the NBC soap opera "Passions." "Hidden Passions: Secrets from the Diaries of Tabitha Lenox," tied into a storyline that involved characters promoting the book that exposed secrets of the locals. It reached No. 4 on the New York Times bestseller list.
"Lost" fans were treated to "Bad Twin" (Hyperion), written by fictitious author Gary Troup, a supposed passenger on the doomed Oceanic Flight 815. His draft, turned in before he boarded the flight, contained secrets to several castaways lives.
Last month, womanizer Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), star of the CBS hit sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," wrote (along with staff writer Matt Kuhn) "The Playbook: Suit Up. Score Chicks. Be Awesome." (Touchstone).
Most recently, Grove Press issued the "reprinting" of "Sterling's Gold: Wit & Wisdom of an Ad Man," the long lost musings of "Mad Men's" silver haired ad exec Roger Sterling.
"Castle" is taking the cross marketing one step further, venturing onto the soundstages of Hollywood. An upcoming episode follows the crew to L.A. where the movie version on "Heat Wave" is being filmed. Laura Prepon ("That 70's Show") has been cast as the actress hired to play Nikki Heat (aka Beckett) who follows the detective around as she tries to solve a murder.
And just who does Richard Castle think should play the fictional magazine journalist, Jameson Rook, in the "Naked Heat" movie?
"If it were up to him, he'd have George Clooney," said executive producer Andrew W. Marlowe. "But it'd probably be Jason Bateman because of the resemblance." Perhaps a clue to upcoming stunt casting?
Who do you think should play Castle?
-- Liesl Bradner
Top image: Cover of "Naked Heat." Credit: Associated Press
Bottom photos: Actor Nathan Fillion, left, and Jason Bateman. Credit: Getty Images