A movie studio has reportedly already picked up the rights to bring Ana and Christian to the big screen

By Rennie Dyball and Kristin Boehm
Updated March 26, 2012 04:00 PM

Fifty Shades of Grey, the bestselling erotic novel that’s attracted legions of female fans, is not only the hottest book around. It’s the biggest “get” for movie studios.

According to several outlets, the major companies have been clamoring for the film rights to the steamy trilogy and the chance to bring Christian Grey to the big screen. Deadline reported Monday that Universal Pictures and Focus Features have already won rights to the book.

But where are the small screen developers in all the buzz? Anyone who’s read even a slice of the steamy trilogy knows that a film wouldn’t do the book justice within R-rated territory. Instead of going the way of the sexual addiction-themed Shame, – which was critically-acclaimed but attracted only brave NC-17 moviegoers – Shades might find a more comfortable home in living rooms.

Take HBO. This wouldn’t be the first time that the network pushed the boundaries with sex. It was 14 years ago that HBO got women everywhere talking with a little show called Sex and the City. Between the frank talk about sex and the nudity to spare, it was something of a TV revolution.

Other series on the cable network have been even more sexually forthcoming. Anyone who’s watched True Blood, Hung or even the 1990s-born Real Sex (the name says it all if you haven’t seen it) should prove that HBO (full disclosure: which like PEOPLE is owned by Time Warner) can go places that most movies simply cannot.

In addition to the privacy-of-your-own-home, glass-of-wine-in-hand element that a TV show would provide, the storyline would also be well suited to a weekly format.

Rather than squirming uncomfortably through a 2-hour movie chock full of sex scenes, a series could feature one such scene per week. And (SPOILER ALERT!) in the second book, Fifty Shades Darker, Grey and Anastasia Steele’s relationship takes a big plot turn and becomes more of a thriller. That storyline is a natural fit for weekly cliffhangers.