5:35pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Lord of the Rings' TV Series in the Works
The Lord of the Rings could be the next big TV adaptation.
Warner Bros. Television, whose feature film counterpart produced the movie series, is in the preliminary stages of discussions for a potential TV series based on the J.R.R. Tolkien best-sellers. Amazon Studios, which is making a new genre-focused push under company CEO Jeff Bezos, has emerged as a potential buyer. Amazon Studios and Warner Bros. Television declined comment.
Sources stress that a deal for a Lord of the Rings TV series is far from official. Talks are said to be focusing on rights issues with the Tolkien estate; the project has yet to even go out to search for a writer.
The news comes four months after Warner Bros. and the Tolkien estate settled an $80 million lawsuit after a five-year battle. That happened after Warners offshoot New Line Cinema and the Tolkien estate waged a courtroom battle over profit participation from the film franchise that consisted of The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003), as well as 2013 prequel The Hobbit. The property is a multibillion-dollar worldwide franchise.
That Amazon Studios has emerged as a potential home for the LOTR TV series comes as little surprise given the genre-focused programming push Bezos has mandated. The retail giant and streaming platform has been on the hot seat for its lack of a breakthrough hit, with Sharon Tal Yguado initially brought in earlier this year to oversee the development of genre fare.
In anticipation of the programming push, Amazon Studios has been in the midst of canceling a wave of programming including Z: The Beginning of Everything and The Last Tycoon. Following sexual harassment allegations, Amazon Studios head Roy Price resigned from the company last month. His head of drama and comedy Joe Lewis was pushed out as he faced conflict-of-interest allegations, among others. Amazon Studios COO Albert Cheng has taken over for Price on an interim basis, with Tal Yguado now overseeing drama and comedy.