Amazon executives have said recently that they’re looking for their “Game of Thrones” — a big, broad-appeal series to drive viewership to its streaming service. To that end, the company was reportedly pursuing rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” novels to turn into a series.

On Monday, Amazon made it official. It greenlit a “Lord of the Rings” series with a multi-season commitment. The series will be a prequel to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and the deal also includes potential spinoffs.

Amazon Studios will produce the series alongside the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, which produced the “LOTR” and “Hobbit” films.

“‘The Lord of the Rings’ is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” Sharon Tal Yguado, Amazon’s head of scripted programming, says 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.”

Amazon’s announcement is also notable for what’s not in it, chiefly the name of a writer or showrunner who will lead the “LOTR” series and any sort of timeline for production.

Given the likely scale of such a production and the accompanying visual effects needed for it, it’s probably unrealistic to expect “The Lord of the Rings” (or whatever the series ends up being called) to hit Amazon before 2019.

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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