By the time an Episode 1 could air, it'll be 2019. In this day and age 16 years is pretty decent amount of time for a reboot Hell...spiderman's been rebooted twice in that time frame Batman 3x since '98.
You wouldn't think the rights holders would be that hard up for cash, but there's no accounting for greed I guees. 250 for the $%(*&^ in rights fees alone?? And it doesn't include all the characters?!?!?
We're also living in a golden age of "Hey can we turn that movie into a TV series" with things like 12 Monkeys, Damian, Fargo, From Dusk til Dawn, Lethal Weapon etc. They're apparently doing it with Watchmen now too. I'm surprised that it's taken them this long to try and turn it into an HBO style series, on the heels of GoT. That said, the price tag attached to the rights alone is insane.
With the expanded content we'll finally have the answer to burning questions like: "What did Frodo have for breakfast before he left the shire?" and "What exactly is that book on the upper right side of the shelf? No, all the way over. The one with red lettering on the binding. I said red lettering..."
There are so many other properties that would be better served. The Gemmell Drenai saga would do well as a series, cost far less up front and not be contstantly compared to an already existing epic film series.
I LOVE the films! But they are plenty. I agree with brandomack. Looaads of other awesome books to mine for an amazing series! Fafhrd & The Gray Mouser!!?? I would kill for that. Elric!! A proper Dragon Lance series! Drizzt and friends!! How awesome would it be to have a live action Artemis Entreri?
Why? That's such a stupid idea! It isn't like they're going to remake the books again, so anything that gets made is going to be something in the vein of LOTR. Just make something original! It doesn't cost $250 million for the rights!
I'm struggling to see what a TV series would really bring to the table. Some other properties have been pretty good because they are basically just using the license for the characters. "Lethal Weapon" comes to mind, as they're loosely following the plot of the films but it's mostly just been a buddy-cop TV show using existing characters.
Now if if they were to try to tell original stories in Middle Earth, that might be a bit interesting...but I don't know.
Personally, I wouldn't want them to do this either. But if it does happen, I wish this time they would use actual little people as the Hobbits and Dwarfs. You can't get much cooler than Peter Dinklage, surely there are others. I've often wondered how much backlash there was from the Little People community with the Jackson movies for not using them for the lead actors instead of just long shots and body doubles.
There are several shots in LOTR where optically shrinking down the actors to Hobbit size just doesn't work for me. Shrinking them screws up the body proportions and a few times it just takes me out of the movie.
I'm with everybody else, I don't see a need for LotR TV series, esp. if it's just going to be a rehash of the movies. What might work if they set in the Tolkienverse but made it an original story that dealt some lesser or unknown characters and events that weren't a part of the main story but were a part of the overall story none the less. There's plenty that they could do with either Gondor, the Rangers, Rohan, or even all 3.
The big difference is name recognition. They could easily go elsewhere much cheaper. However, the other titles mentioned here don't have remotely the name recognition. Not close. I've not heard of anything, though Dragon Lance rings a bell...but i've got no other clue about it.