Showtime Snags 'Gormenghast' Fantasy Series From Neil Gaiman, Akiva Goldsman

The premium cable outlet is developing a drama based on a series of novels by author Mervyn Peake.
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Neil Gaiman (left), Akiva Goldsman

Showtime is entering the fantasy realm.

The premium cable outlet is developing a series based on author Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast novels, with Neil Gaiman and Akiva Goldsman among the executive producers. The project has a script-to-series order and is opening a writers room under creator and showrunner Toby Whithouse (Being Human, Doctor Who).

Showtime will co-produce Gormenghast with Fremantle. Whithouse, Gaiman, Goldsman, Dante Di Loreto, Oliver Jones, Barry Spikings and David Stern are the executive producers.

The series will be based on Peake's trilogy of fantasy novels: Titus Groan, first published in 1946, Gormenghast and Titus Alone. The author was at work on a fourth installment, Titus Awakes, at the time of his death in 1968. His widow, Maeve Gilmore, completed the book, which was published in 2011.

The books center on Titus, who's born into nobility in a vast, city-sized castle called Gormenghast that's isolated from the rest of the world by uninhabitable territory on all sides. Though he's due to inherit rule of the castle, Titus is also curious about the outside world and longs to escape Gormenghast's walls, even as its residents continue to perform traditional rituals whose purpose is long forgotten.

Showtime hasn't done much in the fantasy space in the past, although the ViacomCBS-owned network is currently shepherding a Kingkiller Chronicle series that counts Lin-Manuel Miranda among its executive producers.

Gormenghast will look to join a lineup of originals on the cabler that includes Billions, Shameless, The Chi, City on a Hill, Homeland, Ray Donovan, Kidding, On Becoming a God in Central Florida and Black Monday as well as the upcoming Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Back to Life, Work in Progress, Good Lord Bird, The L Word: Generation Q and Halo.