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Starz, FremantleMedia work up American Gods

Starz is working with FremantleMedia North America to adapt Neil Gaiman’s urban fantasy novel American Gods for television.

US premium cable channel Starz has tapped Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies) to pen the pilot script and Michael Green (The River). The pair will executive produce along with author Gaiman and FMNA’s Thom Beers, Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk.

Starz’s Ken Segna, who was recently upped to VP of original programming, will oversee the project, and Starz will have domesic pay TV and SVOD rights, while FremantleMedia International has distribution rights elsewhere.

Gaiman’s cult novel, published in 2001, follows the making of a war between Earth’s traditional mythical gods and a new group of deities that reflect a society of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs.

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 honours the book and does right by the fans and viewers,” said Starz’s managing director Carmi Zlotnik.

This comes after FMNA, FremantleMedia’s North American arm, acquired rights to American Gods in February. FMNA is currently producing a US cable remake of French supernatural thriller Les Revenants.

Starz, meanwhile, is seeking to have new original programming every week of the year, as it competes with premium pay TV rivals HBO and Showtime. CEO Chris Albrecht has said he plans to have 70-plus hours a year by the end of 2016, when a movie deal with The Walt Disney Company comes to an end.