Why HBO Passed On The Lord Of The Rings TV Show

"I'd rather have the ability to work with a product that is inextricably linked to our brand."


One of the biggest pieces of TV news this year came in the past month: A Lord of the Rings TV show is on the way. Amazon Studios picked it up, reportedly paying a quarter of a billion dollars for the rights alone even before production costs. The show was reportedly being shopped around to multiple networks before Amazon won it. Among the others reportedly interested was Game of Thrones network HBO, and now the network's CEO has explained why his company did not have much interest in getting the Lord of the Rings show.

According to Variety, Richard Plepler said at the Business Insider Ignition media conference that HBO would rather focus on franchises that it can better control, like the breadwinner Game of Thrones. "I'd rather own our IP [intellectual property] 100%… and I'd rather have the ability to work with a product that is inextricably linked to our brand," he said.

Regarding the reported $250 million price that Amazon reportedly ultimately paid for the Lord of the Rings TV show rights, Pepler remarked, "If I'm [Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos], that's Monopoly money."

Even though HBO didn't get the Lord of the Rings TV show, the company's sister firm, Time Warner, will enjoy some of the benefits since it's co-produced by Time Warner's New Line Cinema unit.

Little in the way of specifics is known about the Lord of the Rings show, but we do know it will be set before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring. The universe that Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien created is absolutely massive, so there are countless opportunities for great stories to be told; it's exciting to think about.

Peter Jackson directed the three Lord of the Rings movies in the early 2000s. Together, they made more than $2.9 billion globally, with the final instalment, The Return of the King, picking up 11 Oscars including Best Picture. Jackson went on to direct the three Hobbit films.

While no new films have been announced, a movie about Tolkien's relationship with with his wife Edith Bratt and his time in World War I is in the pipeline. Another film will explore the author's relationship with Narnia writer C.S. Lewis and how he helped convert Lewis to Christianity.

In video game news, Middle-earth: Shadow of War launched in October for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. You can read GameSpot's review here.

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