‘American Gods’ TV Series Moving Forward Again; Neil Gaiman Still Producing

Published 1 year ago by

american gods tv show neil gaiman American Gods TV Series Moving Forward Again; Neil Gaiman Still Producing

Multiple film projects based on celebrated author/screenwriter Neil Gaiman’s fantasy literature are currently in the works, including the long-awaited adaptation of his Sandman DC/Vertigo graphic novel series – with Joseph Gordon-Levitt leading the charge – and a movie based on his lauded Jungle Book-inspired children’s novel, The Graveyard Book. But what of HBO’s American Gods TV series (based on Gaiman’s fantasy book), first announced some three years ago?

Well, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that the American Gods TV show is no longer destined for a home at HBO. Good news is, the rights have been acquired by a different production house than Tom Hanks’ Playtone banner, with the intention of moving the series forward – now that it’s spent a couple of years spinning its wheels in place, that is.

Deadline is reporting that FremantleMedia has picked up the American Gods TV series rights, with Gaiman still onboard as an executive producer for the project. It was Gaiman who, three years ago, revealed that his 2001 book – a best-seller that secured the Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker awards for Best Novel – was being envisioned as a movie production fit for a theatrical release, not that long before the story broke that HBO was adapting it as a show instead; he’s been personally involved with bringing American Gods to the small screen ever since then.

American Gods, for those unfamiliar, tells the story of Shadow, a convict fresh out of prison who agrees to become the body guard to a man called Mr. Wednesday. The latter, it turns out, is one of the old gods, who is traveling across the U.S. to rally his allies and hopefully lead them to victory in an end-all battle with the gods of the modern age (i.e. media, technology, drugs, etc.). Thematically, American Gods shares much in common with The Sandman, by examining the general cultural transition from ancient to contemporary belief systems through a story that is often darkly surreal, yet at the same time quite personal.

the doctors wife neil gaiman American Gods TV Series Moving Forward Again; Neil Gaiman Still Producing

Neil Gaiman wrote ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ from ‘Doctor Who’ Series 6

The initial reports that HBO has fully signed off on a six-season plan for the American God series turned out to be false; last year, Gaiman updated the situation, revealing that he’d written multiple script drafts for the pilot episode and that his inclusion of new story material – Gaiman admitted it was his attempt to give the books’ fans “stuff where they don’t know what’s going to happen” – had contributed to the show’s lack of progress.

In a new blog post, Gaiman elaborated on the current situation with American Gods:

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.

Under HBO’s wing, American Gods would’ve likely been a fairly adult series with solid production values, but there’s no reason why another premium cable network wouldn’t be interested in making such a show, especially in this day and age of TV entertainment. Hopefully, the project will land a new home sooner rather than later, so we can all start making plans to add yet another sophisticated piece of small screen entertainment to our already jam-packed list of programs to watch in the future.


We’ll keep you posted on American God‘s status.

Source: Deadline, Neil Gaiman

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
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  1. Is there any background information on Freemantle? Would be nice to have a little blurb about their track record and what they may (or may not) bring to the table to make this happen successfully….

    • Freemantle Media:

      FremantleMedia is a truly global TV company and one of the largest international creators and producers of entertainment brands in the world. These include Idols, Got Talent, The X Factor and Hole In The Wall.

      Our vision to deliver inspiring entertainment has resulted in our outstanding formats consistently being the number one entertainment shows for broadcasters in the UK, Europe, USA and over 40 countries right around the globe. We have production operations in over 22 countries worldwide with over 300 titles on air or in production at any one time.

      Every year our companies deliver 9,200 hours of original outstanding programming to broadcasters, and we directly distribute and license over 20,000 hours of top class entertainment to over 150 countries.

      Our innovative and dynamic formats have helped redefine quality hit programming in all the world’s leading television markets and our passion for fresh ideas continues to drive our unparalleled global success.

      • eeek so no real scripted shows. I hope this is not indicative of the outcome of American Gods.

        Maybe they will allow a little more freedom as it appears they have no experience in scripted TV……

        Thanks Taychon….

          • A lot of those on the list are not scripted shows as I understand them…and the ones you listed…I kinda have not heard of a one of them. Maybe I need to watch more TV. LOL.

            • I’m British, Cosgrove-Hall animations (in both TV and movie form) were pretty much a staple of every British childhood in the 80s. That and Bananaman, lol.

              Youtube would be your friend here, they’re still really good and as for The BFG, I think the animated movie starring Sir David Jason is better than the original Roald Dahl book.

              • Its weird to know that you miss out on so much of the world depending on where you live….

          • Thanks for the information as im looking more will this be handled by the US or UK division?

            Cause as I look the US division is mainly non scripted.

  2. I liked American Gods. That one and Anansi Boys kind of go together in my mind. Old gods vs. modern world. Gaiman should just roll the two of them together into one miniseries.

  3. I liked 75% of the book but the conclusion absolutely ruined it for me. Hopefully they will fix it for the show because I really enjoyed most of the story.