Tom Hanks producing 6 seasons of Neil Gaiman's American Gods for HBO

Here's some good news for those readers upset that the television adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Sandman stalled out. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tom Hanks' Playtone Productions will produce a whopping six seasons of Neil Gaiman's earthbound-deities novel American Gods.

We had heard previously that Hanks was considering adapting Gaiman's acclaimed book for HBO, and now it looks like American Gods is finally getting that chichi cable treatment. Notes THR:

The series-in-development, revolving around the question "are you a god if no one believes in you?" is executive produced by [Gary] Goetzman and Hanks, with Bob Richardson, and Gaiman on board as executive producer and writer.

Each of the six seasons will be of 10-12, hour-long episodes with a budget of around $35-40 million per season, targeted to debut on the cable powerhouse in 2013 at the earliest [...] American Gods will be effects-heavy to do justice to the awe-inspiring power of the divine beings. "There are some crazy things in there. We'll probably be doing more effects in there than it's been done on a television series," said Goetzman.

Before we get too jazzed up, it's worth adding the caveat that Playtone has other obligations before this open-ended series, namely a $100 million live-action treatment of the Mattel action figure Major Matt Mason. Hanks co-wrote this 3D family space adventure and is set to star and produce. Furthermore, Robert Zemeckis is in talks to direct Mason — are we looking at Mars Needs Bosom Buddies? Anyway, here's hoping American Gods won't crumble under the weight of its own ambition.

[American Gods fan art via Zelu's Deviant Art]