HBO Scraps TV Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods

By Rachel Cruz | 3 years ago
HBO Scraps TV Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods
Neil Gaiman, signing books after a reading from “Anansi Boys” in Berkeley, 2005.

HBO has been developing Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novel “American Gods” for television since 2011 with Playtone,  Tom Hanks’ production company, which has delivered hits like “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific” for the cable network.  The plan included developing stories in the later seasons that would cover materials that aren’t originally written in the book.

In February 2014, however, news surfaced that HBO scrapped this project. Deadline reported that Freemantle Media North America (FMNA) is now holding the rights to produce it. FMNA has also enlisted the help of Gaiman, who will serve as executive producer for the show.

Michael Lombardo, president of programming for HBO, explained in May 2014 why HBO has let its rights expire on “American Gods.”

“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,” said Lombardo in an interview with Vulture.

He reiterated that HBO loved the thought of the adaptation, but when it was clear that they could not get it done right, it didn’t seem like a good idea to push through.

“American Gods,” which was first released in 2001, follows the story of Shadow, a former convict in conflict with spiritual and mythological gods. He is struggling and keeping the pace with the rise of new gods like technology and media.

Meanwhile, BBC News reported that BBC network is adapting another novel written by Gaiman into a miniseries. Red Production Company is producing “Anansi Boys” for television with Gaiman also headlining as its executive producer. The novel, originally released in 2005, follows the story of two brothers discovering each other after the death of their father, Mr. Nancy (Anansi), a spider god.

According to IGN, Gaiman’s bestselling novel, “Sandman,” is going to be made into a feature film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

That’s it for the “American Gods” update. We’ll be keeping tabs on the developments of these Neil Gaiman projects. Follow Movie News Guide (MNG) for more television and entertainment news.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons/Jutta

About the author

Rachel will watch any TV show once to see if it's worth following. She watches 55 to 60 American, British and Canadian TV shows on any regular week. Glued to TV, she has not seen the world outside in a while. :P