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Amazon announces 'Lord of the Rings' TV show

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Amazon is going to Middle Earth.

The streaming service on Monday announced it is bringing J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy epic to television, with a multiple-season commitment.

The television series will take place before the 2001 feature film "The Fellowship of the Ring," which kicked off the trilogy directed by Peter Jackson.

Amazon said in a release the deal includes the potential for spin-off series as well.

"'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 for Amazon Studios. "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."

The announcement marks Amazon's first major programming announcement since the departure of former executive Roy Price.

Price resigned as head of Amazon Studios in October after accusations of sexual harassment.

Amazon's acquisition of the "Lord of the Rings" television rights sets up the streaming network to expand its genre programming.

Amazon also produces "The Man in the High Castle," an alternative history drama based on the Philip K. Dick novel. That show's third season will debut in 2018.

The company also announced last week a superhero drama from "Supernatural" creator Eric Kripke and fellow executive producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who will direct.

The "Lord of the Rings" films earned a combined gross of nearly $6 billion worldwide.

The cast included Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Sean Astin and Orlando Bloom.

A cast for the TV series has not yet been announced.

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