Starz Teams with ‘Hannibal’ Creator Bryan Fuller for Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’

By July 1, 2014
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You may have heard that a while back, HBO was supposed to be adapting Neil Gaiman’s beloved book “American Gods” into a series with Tom Hanks producing by way of his Playtone production banner. Sadly, the cable network lost the option on the book, but that doesn’t mean the story isn’t still headed to television.

THR has word that Starz is teaming with “Hannibal” and “Pushing Daisies” creator Bryan Fuller and “Heroes” producer Michael Green for FremantleMedia’s adaptation of the book about a war between gods of the old world who have lost the believers in their Biblical and mythological roots, and new deities that have spawned from society’s love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs.

More specifically, the story follows Shadow Moon, an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to a man named Mr. Wednesday (a con-artist who is actually one of the older gods) on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.

American Gods

Fuller and Green will serve as showrunners as well executive producers alongside Gaiman himself, and Starz has already given a script-to-series commitment to the project. The author sounds excited to finally see his book give the proper treatment and says:

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.

Starz

We still wish this series was happening at HBO, which is much better suited for higher quality original programming than Starz. While the latter network has shows like “Black Sails” and “Power” standing strong, they’ve yet to have runaway hits like HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” So why didn’t the series end up taking off at HBO? Recently, HBO’s president of programming Michael Lombardo talked to Vulture about their failure to get it off the ground saying:

I think we’re all huge fans of the book, and I think the script just didn’t — we couldn’t craft the script as good as we needed it to be. I think we knew going in that it would be a challenge; every good book is a challenge to adapt it and find the level you need for it. The bar is high now for great dramas. And to find that bar — we tried.

So it was a huge disappointment. We tried three different writers, we put a lot of effort into it. Some things just don’t happen. We have to trust at the end of the day, if you don’t have a star with a great script, you’re just not going to go through with it. Even though we love the book, we love the idea, we love the hope of what it could be, we just couldn’t get it right.

Maybe “American Gods” can bring Starz the kind of success that HBO has found with some of their recent series, especially with Gaiman’s loyal fanbase rabidly waiting to see how this turns out. With someone like Fuller on board, who has unique and wonderful sensibilities for bringing material to the small screen, there’s hope that this could be worth the wait, even if HBO isn’t involved anymore. But we have to wait and see if the series actually comes to fruition first.

Do you still want to see Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” turned into a TV series?

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.
  • I’ve heard tremendous things about the book – looking forward to the show!