by Michael Brown, staff writer
The premium-cable network Starz has announced intentions to turn Neil Gaiman’s bestselling 2001 novel American Gods into a television series. Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Heroes) and Michael Green (The River, Kings, Heroes) have been tapped by FremantleMedia North America to develop the series. Fuller and Green will write the script, and also serve as showrunners, taking up executive producer duties alongside Gaiman, and FremantleMedia North America’s Thom Beers, Craig Cegielski, and Stefanie Berk.
“When you create something like American Gods … it’s really important to pick your team carefully,” Gaiman commented. “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 … 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.”
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.”
The 2001 fantasy epic has been translated into over 30 languages and earned the Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror, respectively. The plot deals with 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, and quite simply asks the question: are you still a god if no one believes in you anymore? In the story, Shadow Moon is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a con man but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.
Fans have been waiting for some time for a series adaptation, and almost had it in 2011, when Tom Hanks announced that he and his Playtone Productions were working on six seasons of an American Gods series to air on HBO, but the venture ultimately stalled and HBO dropped out.