HBO's Big-Budget <i>American Gods</i> Series Set To Run For Six Seasons

HBO won't skimp on its previously announced adaptation of American Gods, Neil Gaiman's award-winning 2001 fantasy novel. Not that there were any doubts, given the cable channel's recent history of lavish productions like Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Rome.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network and Tom Hanks' Playtone Productions plan at least six seasons, each with 10 to 12 hour-long episodes, with a budget of $30 million to $40 million per season. By comparison, the epic fantasy Game of Thrones has an estimated budget of $50 million to $60 million.

“There are some crazy things in there," Playtone partner Gary Goetzman tells the trade paper. "We’ll probably be doing more effects in there than it’s been done on a television series.”

American Gods, which is expected to debut in 2013 at the earliest, is built on the premise that deities and figures of myth and folklore exist only because people believe in them. It follows an ex-convict named Shadow who, upon early release from prison after his wife is killed in a car crash, is hired to be the bodyguard of a mysterious con man named Wednesday. However, it’s soon revealed that Wednesday is an incarnation of All-Father Odin, who’s traveling America recruiting his fellow forgotten deities to wage an epic battle against the new American gods — manifestations of modern life and technology, like Internet, media and credit cards.

Gaiman, who's on board the adaptation as an executive producer and writer, addressed the planned length of the series last night on Twitter: "And for those asking, No, 6 years of American Gods on TV doesn't mean just the 1st book. It means I need to write the 2nd now, for a start." (It's worth noting that a novella-length sequel called "The Monarch of the Glen" appeared in the 2006 collection Fragile Things, while the spinoff Anansi Boys was published in 2005.)

Hanks, Goetzman and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson are executive producing the series.

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