Starz Developing AMERICAN GODS TV Show; Bryan Fuller and Michael Green to Act as Showrunners

     July 1, 2014


Though Neil Gaiman fans were surely disappointed to hear that HBO recently let its option on the novel American Gods lapse, there is now reason to rejoice.  Starz announced today that it will develop its own American Gods TV show, with Hannibal and Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller acting as showrunner alongside Heroes alum Michael Green.  The two will pen the pilot script for the adaptation, which revolves around a brewing war between the traditional gods of biblical and mythological roots and the new gods reflecting society’s obsession with money, technology, media, celebrity, and drugs.  The crux of the story follows Shadow Moon, an ex-con who teams up with a conman traveling partner to gather forces in preparation for battle.

It’s certainly an ambitious undertaking (HBO’s plans involved a $35-40 million budget per season), but Fuller has shown his knack for creative genius time and time again, so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how this comes together.  Hit the jump to read the full press release.

american-gods-book-cover-imageHere’s the press release from Starz:

Beverly Hills, Calif. (July 1, 2014) – 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.”

  • Kyle Chandler

    Bryan fuller is a good call, and I’m really looking forward to this adaptation. I think frank darabont could have been a good option as well.

  • Leo Spaceman

    I once was carpooling 100 miles one way to work and some of the other guys would get audio books and listen to them over the car radio while others dozed off for the drive. One of the guys tried listening American Gods, and I half tuned in during one part of it.

    Basically what I heard was this Hindu guy got in a taxi and started talking to the taxi driver and was complaining about how his family life wasn’t so good. They talked for a while as they drove and the guy kept complaining about how his life sucked. Then they pulled up to a hotel and quietly got out of the car and went up to a room and the taxi driver very graphically Butt F**ked the dude and then they quietly left the room.

    Everyone but the driver was just half asleep and it was at this point that I said, this is a weird F**king book.

    That is all I know of this book and I don’t really know what to make of this, it was just F**king weird.

    • Vulcan

      It’s a really good book, but it has some weird parts including that one.

      It is a Muslim guy, and the taxi driver was a Jinn. In order to receive his wish to escape his life, the man had sex with the Jinn, and they did a 69, no anal. Apparently in the ancient myths about Jinns, you had to have sex with them in order to receive wishes (ancient myths are messed up).

      And it isn’t really an important part of the book, it is just one of the several interludes that shows what various gods are doing in America, so I would be fine if they leave that part out, as it doesn’t really contribute to the plot.

  • LockIce

    I havn’t read the whole text but I saw the part of Bryan Fuller acting as showrunner. This creeps me out because that means he’ll have to divide his focus between Hannibal and this. And that’s an idea I’m not quite fond of. But as Kyle Chandler said. Bryan Fuller is a good call.

  • Royale With Cheese

    Neil Gaiman? Awesome. Bryan Fuller’s vision on uncut Starz? F’n amazing.

  • DoremusJessup

    Really love Bryan Fuller’s work. Have no idea how this book would work on-screen, however. Excited to see what him and his team can create though. It’s gotta be a pretty hardcore presentation.

    It might all hinge on who is cast as Mr. Wednesday.

    • Vulcan

      I want Jeff Bridges, but I doubt he would do a tv show.

      • DoremusJessup

        That’d be a good call. I’m not sure why, but I always pictured Wednesday as Steve Doocy from Fox & Friends (Fox News morning show) haha.

        Realistically, I’d like to see Brendan Gleeson (Frank from 28 days later). He can be a powerhouse.

      • Vulcan

        He played Mad Eye Moody. I could see it.

    • The Flobbit

      I want Brian Cox or Anthony Hopkins!

      But really, it all depends on who plays Shadow. For me, there is only one actor capable of playing him: Jason Momoa.


  • Vulcan

    This is one of my favorite books, and I’m excited that Starz is picking it up after HBO dropped it. Hopefully they will allow Gaiman to do some work on it, but not let him write the pilot like at HBO. HBO dropped it because they didn’t see eye to eye on the pilot, because apparently he added a whole bunch of stuff that wasn’t in the book, Wednesday wasn’t in it until the very end, and it didn’t actually set up the conflict.

  • Daniel O’Reilly

    This seems almost too ambitious for a network that has only a few decent shows under it’s belt (and has cancelled pretty much every one of them).

  • NotePad

    American Gods is the only Gaiman novel I have read so far. I was surprised by his prose style, which I really liked. When I first started it i really liked it. But as the book went on, it never built up. It’s a good novel, but I was bored eventually because the steady pace was too steady IMO. I’m sure the series will be really good though. Gaiman is writing a sequel too, but I’d rather him not and focus on a new original story for his next novel.

    This reminds me, because Gaiman was really inspired by Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny. When will we ever get a Lord of Light movie or series? Who else wants this?

  • The Flobbit

    This is one of the greatest books I have ever read. It is epic, long, dark, moving, twisted, and utterly riveting. If anyone can make this good, it would be Bryan Fuller.