Neil Gaiman's American Gods show rights acquired by FremantleMedia


After months of speculation following Neil Gaiman's Reddit AMA in which he revealed that HBO would no longer be in the running for the American Gods television series, the novel has finally found a small-screen home.

See also: Cover Story: The dark night returns for Neil Gaiman

FremantleMedia North America has announced that they've acquired the rights to American Gods.

Gaiman's 2001 novel chronicles ex-con Shadow's travels around the country as he follows a mysterious older man named Mr. Wednesday to his destiny. Along the way, Shadow discovers old gods who immigrated to the United States over thousands of years are now preparing for war with the new, modern gods of technology. Forget "Winter is coming" from Game of Thrones -- a storm is brewing in American Gods, and it's about to get worse.

While FremantleMedia itself might not be a household name, you've definitely heard of some of their shows, which include American Idol, The X Factor, America's Got Talent, Deadliest Catch, and Ice Road Truckers among other big-name game and reality programs. Fremantle Media has also developed Vampire Diaries (think of a mix between True Blood and Twilight) and The Tomorrow People for the CW, and they've got a Rob Reiner adaptation of Carl Hiaasen's novel Basket Case for Spike in the works, too.

What does that mean for American Gods? We're not sure yet, but if it's anything like Vampire Diaries, you can probably expect some sort of Team Shadow and Team Wednesday rivalry to develop among fans (a la Teams Damon and Stefan).

Yesterday, Gaiman announced via his blog news about American Gods and gave a little background about what's been happening behind the scenes these past few years:

AMERICAN GODS is now being developed for TV by Freemantle Media. As to where you will be able to see it, who is going to be in it, who will be writing or show-running, none of these things have yet been settled. But it already looks like it's going to be a smoother run developing it than it had at HBO, so I am very pleased.

(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.)

Gaiman also announced that the sequel to American Gods, Anansi Boys will also hit the small screen -- in a miniseries for the BBC.

Who fits into your American Gods and Anansi Boys dream cast? (We're mostly just hoping that they actually film some of the show at the House on the Rock.) Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

More Neil Gaiman news: A nostalgic return for Neil Gaiman with The Ocean at the End of the Lane Amanda Palmer on Neil Gaiman: He desperately loves to be surprised Top 10 original issues of Neil Gaiman's Sandman The Sandman: Overture #1: A review