STARZ Developing Neil Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS
STARZ Developing Neil Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS from FremantleMedia North America
Starz has announced a script to series development of FremantleMedia North America’s (FMNA) adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed urban fantasy novel “American Gods.” The pilot script will be penned by Bryan Fuller (“Hannibal,” “Pushing Daisies,” “Heroes”) and Michael Green (“The River,” “Kings,” “Heroes”), who will also showrun the series. They will executive produce along with Gaiman. FremantleMedia North America will produce the series.
Starz Managing Director Carmi Zlotnik said, “‘American Gods’ is a project that deserves to be made. With our partners at FremantleMedia and with Bryan, Michael and Neil, we believe we can create a series that honors the book and does right by the fans and viewers.”
Commented Neil Gaiman, “When you create something like ‘American Gods,’ which attracts fans and obsessives and people who tattoo quotes from it on themselves or each other, and who all, tattooed or not, just care about it deeply, it’s really important to pick your team carefully: you don’t want to let the fans down, or the people who care and have been casting it online since the dawn of recorded history. What I love most about the team who I trust to take it out to the world, is that they are the same kind of fanatics that ’American Gods’ has attracted since the start. I haven’t actually checked Bryan Fuller or Michael Green for quote tattoos, but I would not be surprised if they have them. The people at Fremantle are the kinds of people who have copies of ‘American Gods in the bottom of their backpacks after going around the world, and who press them on their friends. And the team at Starz have been quite certain that they wanted to give Shadow, Wednesday and Laura a home since they first heard that the book was out there.I can’t wait to see what they do to bring the story to the widest possible audience able to cope with it.”
Thom Beers, CEO, FremantleMedia North America said, “’Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’ is pure genius and we couldn’t be more thrilled to bring this classic to life on screen. Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk have put together a dream team with Fuller and Green joining Gaiman on this amazing journey. Coupled with Starz’ shared passion for this project, we’re confident this combination will raise the bar for drama.”
Commented Bryan Fuller, “Neil Gaiman has created the holiest of holy toy boxes with ‘American Gods’ and filled it with all manner of magical thing, born of new gods and old. Michael Green and I are thrilled to crack this toy box wide open and unleash the fantastical titans of heaven and earth and Neil’s vividly prolific imagination.”
The 2001 novel has been translated into over 30 languages and earned numerous accolades including Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards for Best Novel. The plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of biblical and mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. Its protagonist, Shadow Moon, is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.
FremantleMedia North America’s Thom Beers, Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk will executive produce the series along with Bryan Fuller, Michael Green and Neil Gaiman. Vice President of Original Programming Ken Segna will be the Starz executive in charge of “American Gods.” Starz will retain all network pay TV and SVOD rights to the project. FremantleMedia will distribute the series worldwide.
“American Gods” is part of the rich scripted slate that has been growing at FremantleMedia North America since CEO Thom Beers appointed Craig Cegielski as Executive Vice President, Scripted Programming, and Stefanie Berk, Senior Vice President, Scripted Programming in June 2013. The company is currently in production on their cable scripted series, “The Returned.”
Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) is a leading integrated global media and entertainment company with operating units that provide premium subscription video programming on domestic U.S. pay television channels (Starz Networks), global content distribution (Starz Distribution) and animated television and movie production (Starz Animation), www.starz.com.
I was excited when I first heard HBO would be bringing American Gods to my television screen. I even made sure that I had HBO so that I would be able to see it when it finally would air. (Fortunately I also ended up with Starz). But that never happened. Here is what Neil Gaiman had to say about that on his journal:
(A few people have asked for more background on this: HBO had an option on American Gods for several years. It went through three different pilot scripts. HBO has a limited number of slots and, after a while, passed it to Cinemax, who are in the HBO family, who decided eventually they didn’t want to do it, and the option expired, which unfortunately meant we couldn’t work with Tom Hanks’ production company Playtone any longer, as they are exclusive to HBO. However, Stefanie Berk, who had been one of the brightest stars at Playtone, had recently moved to Freemantle, and was as determined as she had been when she was at Playtone to bring American Gods to the screen. And I was impressed by her determination.)
In slightly related news, also from Neil’s blog:
Other TV news also came to fruition today, although I do not have anywhere to link you to, so you will have to take my word for it: Anansi Boys is going to be made into a TV miniseries in the UK, by RED, for the BBC.
Yes, I’m really thrilled about both of these things.
Freemantle has the harder task, as they are going to have to open up American Gods into something bigger than the book.
Red are just going to have to make an absolutely brilliant faithful version of Anansi Boys.