HBO News Blog

HBO Rival Starz Gets Gaiman’s “American Gods”

By Jef Dinsmore on Jul 2, 2014 to American Gods

AmericanGods_bookcoverHBO had been courting Neil Gaiman’s American Gods for quite a while. HBOWatch was keeping track of it with a total of nine different posts. The first post was way back on 06.03.11 and on exactly three years later on 06.03.14 we quoted HBO’s Michael Lombardo on why HBO passed on the project.

HBO is in a busy market with everyone vying for viewers. HBO’s competition, as far as being premium channels is concerned, are Showtime and Starz and what HBO doesn’t want one of the other can snag it. Such is the case with American Gods going to the Starz channel.

 NBC’s Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller & Michael Green, an executive producer of NBC’s Heroes, will team up to spearhead the adaptation. They are also expected to at least write the pilot.

Bryan Fuller made this statement –   

 “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.”

Now, HBO’s Lombardo stated, that Home Box Office could not make it work. What has Starz got that HBO doesn’t? This writer doesn’t know for sure because I don’t have Starz, though my wife wishes we did so she could watch the upcoming Outlander. Hell, HBO should have both of these shows, but doesn’t I think because HBO doesn’t take the kind of risks Starz evidently does.

Starz_logoThere is no proof yet that American Gods will be a big hit for the network or not; only time will tell. But, if it does become a ratings success then it was a missed opportunity for HBO. In the busy TV landscape and with HBO closing down shows like TRUE BLOOD, THE NEWROOM and BOARDWALK EMPIRE it can’t afford letting good potential hits slip by. Is it time to take a risk? Are you going to seek out American Gods on Starz? Let us know your thoughts below.   

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13 Comments on "HBO Rival Starz Gets Gaiman’s “American Gods”"

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I’ve wanted to have Starz for other shows but this might just be the tipping point for me giving in and paying for it.

I don’t have HBO or Starz, but I will absolutely add Starz just to watch the series. I’m a huge fan of Neil Gaiman’s work. Ever since I first read the book, I’ve hoped for a movie or a TV series. This is actually the first I’ve heard of a series in development. Now I need Starz.

Scorlia'adeach Damha'n

i’ve been watching outlander on starz as well as my hbo favs. they should never have passed on american gods, they will be big time sorry they did. the rating for outlander are huuuuuuge, and neil has an even bigger readership than gabaldon does. scifi and fantasy readers are extremely loyal fans, and it big budgets for top ppl and keeping true to authors/creators visions hold firm, the fans watch in droves. GoT and Outlander are cases of point. i will definately American Gods on Starz and you’re a complete dunderhead for not getting it for your wife.

I hated American Gods.Didn`t ring my bell at all,but if HBO wants a replacement that could not fail,they need to look at “The Boys” graphic novel series.

I wouldn’t be too confident that American Gods will air as a series on Starz. HBO had the rights for several years and it didn’t make it to a shot pilot. HBO options a lot that they drop (A Visit from the Goon Squad) or pass on the pilot (The Corrections). I don’t think that American Gods has aged well as a book. I’m not sure Gaiman is at his best when writing longer form fiction. IMO, his best work is Sandman and the shorter form fiction (Graveyard Book, Ocean at the End of the Lane).
Starz definitely takes more risks than HBO, but they have only paid off in one instance: Spartacus. I’m cautiously optimistic about Outlander because Ron Moore is involved; knowing that Bryan Fuller is handling American Gods is also good news. In terms of quality, HBO is still the best premium channel. Their shows might not always be hits (Treme, Enlightened were fantastic shows hardly anyone watched), but they sure know how to get the best performances out of their everyone involved, particularly the actors. With Game of Thrones at the half-way point, HBO needs to step it up and choose another… Read more »

I know I’m in the minority, but I like Showtime more than HBO. Sometimes HBO acts arrogant I think.

Well, Im a Starz subscriber but I can’t say I’ve been impressed with their original series. Camelot was pretty much bad (I wanted to like it!). The White Queen was fine (according to my wife) but it is NOTHING close to Game of Thrones. Da Vinci’s Demons is pretty bad. And Spartacus is good. There, I just dressed down all of Starz haha. I still hope it’s good. It wont take away from HBO to have a little competition now and then but if I were a betting man I’d guess that it’s going to fall somewhere in the middle… Read more »

Don’t forget Black Sails! It’s weird, you can see some of the shows have so much potential, and their ideas are great, but they just consistently fall flat. I think it’d be great if they broke that pattern with American Gods though, and managed to show HBO what they missed out on!

Honestly, I have no problem with this. After HBO, Starz is problem my favourite channel when it comes to dramas. Although the budget, obviously, won’t quite be as big as it would be with HBO, I think Starz series’ ‘Black Sails’ and ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ prove that they can make good looking television, if nothing else. It’s a shame that it’s not on HBO, but it could have wound up in a much worse place than Starz.

True, last we heard it might have been on CW… this is much better haha.

The CW is actually better than Starz, sorry to break it to you.

HBO lost an amazing project. Bryan Fuller + American Gods/Neil Gaiman + HBO= (Potentially) A Masterpiece. Too bad it’s with Starz. It needs HBO’s big budget and high standards of quality.


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