Author Suzanne Collins said that she came up with the idea for the Hunger Games while channel surfing. Apparently she was flipping between footage of the Iraq War and a reality TV show and came up with the idea of a book set on an island where teenagers are forced to fight each other to the death in a televised death match to deter the youngsters rising up in revolution.
Sounds as good as it did the first time i heard that storyline in the 1999 Battle Royale novel by Japanese writer Koushun Takami which is set on an island where teenagers are forced to fight each other to death in a televised death match to punish citizens for a past rebellion and to prevent them from rising up again.
Both films contain a command centre that keeps track of the combatants and reads out lists of the dead over loudspeaker and have previous winners acting as mentors.
The author of The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins, maintains that she has never heard of Battle Royale and she just had a similar idea so far be it for me to shout 'blatant rip-off' but, well, it is a blatant rip-off of the Battle Royale book.
It is a nice idea about the storyline coming to her while flipping channels and i think she probably did get the idea by flipping through the television but happened to stumble across a foreign film that she probably thought wasn't very widely known outside of Asia and thought she would nick the storyline.
I guess it isn't inconceivable to believe that she just happened to come up with an almost identical storyline to an already written book and Asian movie but then it also isn't inconceivable that she blatantly ripped off Koushan Takami's novel and hoped nobody would notice.