J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings could be on its way to the small screen.
Deadline reports that rights to the seminal trilogy is being shopped around Hollywood, with Netflix, Amazon and HBO in rights-holders' sights.
An eye-watering US200m-$250m is reportedly the price of admission. After raiding Smaug's hoard to pay for the rights, producers would need to actually make the show. Doing so well would likely cost at least the same sum or more to make a few seasons of tellie of a standard to compare with recent serial drama.
The effort may be worth it: the three film versions of the books cracked $3bn in total revenue. They also work well in a twelve-hour extended cut.
The same can't be said of three subsequent films based on The Hobbit, which disappointed as money-spinners and a spectacle. The Register imagines that problem will weigh on potential buyers' minds, as will the fact that ownership of rights to LoTR remain the subject of ongoing legal rumblings.
As will the price: for $200m+ rights-holders would surely want multiple series of the show. Which probably means some lucky writer gets the tricky job of making Tom Bombadil comprehensible and interesting.
Filming the scouring of The Shire, a controversial omission from the films, is more tantalising televisual fare. ®