EXCLUSIVE: Acclaimed urban fantasy novel American Gods is headed to television. FremantleMedia North America has acquired the rights to the book by Neil Gaiman, creator of the popular Sandman comic. Gaiman will executive produce the potential American Gods series with FMNA. The 2001 novel has been translated into over 30 languages and has earned Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards for Best Novel. In American Gods, a war is brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of biblical and mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. The story centers on Shadow Moon, an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities. The acquisition of American Gods is part of FMNA’s stepped-up efforts in the scripted arena under new executive team, EVP Craig Cegielski and SVP Stefanie Berk. The company also has an adaptation of hit French drama The Returned in development at A&E, a project based on Carl Hiaasen’s novel Basket Case in the works at Spike with Rob Reiner attached, and the CW series The Tomorrow People, which is based on a Fremantle-owned format. Gaiman, whose credits also include novels The Graveyard Book, Coraline and The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, was repped in the deal by CAA on behalf of literary agent Merrilee Heifetz.