Showtime has released the fantasy drama back to producers Lionsgate Television, which is already shopping the project based on the best-selling series of novels by Pat Rothfuss. Sources say Apple is among the outlets that have been sent the scripts from John Rogers (Leverage). Showtime and Lionsgate declined to comment.
Showtime landed the project in October 2017 following a multiple-outlet bidding war and subsequently put the drama in development. (There was no formal series order at the time.) The TV series being developed is an origin story that is set a generation before the events of the trilogy’s first novel, The Name of the Wind. The show is planned as a companion alongside a feature film that is poised to adapt Rothfuss’ book series. Lionsgate is looking to build Kingkiller as a larger franchise that also includes interactive games and more beyond the film and TV show.
The Kingkiller Chronicle depicts the life and times of Kvothe, a magically gifted young man and famous musician who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The potential series will follow a pair of wandering performers on their adventures through the unique and startling world of Temerant, immersing audiences in a universe of unexpected heroes, mystical places and terrifying dark forces.
Rogers is writing the pilot and set to serve as showrunner on the Kingkiller and will exec produce alongside Miranda, Rothfuss, Robert Lawrence (Clueless, Die Hard With a Vengeance) and Jennifer Court (The Player). Tony, Pulitzer, Grammy and Emmy winner Miranda (Hamilton) compose music for the series. The book has sold more than 10 million copies in 35 languages across the globe.
Showtime already has spent millions on video game adaptation Halo, which it has been working on since 2014 when it was being produced alongside Xbox Entertainment Studios. The drama, starring Pablo Schreiber (Orange Is the New Black), has already added a second showrunner and changed directors. Production on the drama — which features a multimillion-dollar per-episode budget — is underway in Budapest. Sources note that Showtime remains committed to other big-budget shows beyond Halo. Still, fantasy dramas remain a pricey endeavor as multiple outlets look for the next Game of Thrones. (HBO, too, just ordered a second Game of Thrones prequel pilot as it looks to build on the success of its most-watched franchise ever.)
Showtime’s decision to abandon plans for Kingkiller arrives after parent company CBS Corp. agreed to re-merge with Viacom, giving it access to all of Viacom’s IP for which to potentially adapt.
Lionsgate TV, meanwhile, is fresh off its best development year ever and has multiple series in the works across the broadcast, cable and streaming landscape. Those include video game adaptation Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet (Apple), Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC), Love Life (HBO Max), Florida Girls (CBS-owned Pop) and limited series Fall & Rise (ABC), among others.
The Ankler first reported rumors of Kingkiller‘s Showtime demise.