Amazon is stepping up its original series efforts in a major way.
Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos, apparently wants Amazon's original TV division to develop more big, primetime-level shows, kind of like Game of Thrones. It was previously reported that Amazon wanted to make a TV series based on JRR Tokien’s The Lord of the Rings. Now, Amazon has announced that it has acquired the TV rights for the book series, and that it's made a multi-season commitment.
“The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, head of scripted series at Amazon Studios, in a statement. “We are honored to be working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line on this exciting collaboration for television and are thrilled to be taking The Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.”
It'll be a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, too. Amazon said it'll be set in Middle Earth and that it will "explore new storylines preceding JRR Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring". The deal even includes a potential additional spin-off series. Amazon hasn’t revealed how much it paid for the rights, but a report from Deadline claimed the rights might've been priced around $200 million to $250 million.
The upcoming TV show, which is described as an Amazon Prime Original, will only be available for Prime members to stream at no additional cost to their membership. Keep in mind AdAge recently claimed that Amazon is working on a free, ad-supported version of its Prime video streaming service. Currently, Prime members pay $99 to access a large library of video content that is usually ad-free.