I guess getting a book-accurate TV series of Neil Gaiman's American Gods novel from the same TV channel that was already making an excellent adaptation of Game of Thrones was too much to ask for. But HBO finally explained why they gave up on the much-anticipated show.
In a word, the script. As Michael Lombardo, HBO president of programming, explained to Vulture:
I was sad when HBO lost the option on American Gods.
We were as well.
I think we're all huge fans of the book, and I think the script just didn't — we couldn't craft the script as good as we needed it to be. I think we knew going in that it would be a challenge; every good book is a challenge to adapt it and find the level you need for it. The bar is high now for great dramas. And to find that bar — we tried. So it was a huge disappointment […] We tried three different writers, we put a lot of effort into it. Some things just don't happen. We have to trust at the end of the day, if you don't have a star with a great script, you're just not going to go through with it.
Even though we love the book, we love the idea, we love the hope of what it could be, we just couldn't get it right.
Um, forgive me, American Gods fans, but I can't help but be relieved HBO had the presence of mind to 1) know when a show isn't working and 2) just stop, rather than do it poorly to make some $. Yes, it's a shame they couldn't find a writer to transform the book into a killer script, but if they had gone ahead with it anyway, we'd have a crappy American Gods series and that would probably be it forever. Now at least some other channel has a chance to get the rights and do the series correctly. You can't really ask much more of a network than that.
[Via The Mary Sue]