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TCA: Starz CEO Chris Albrecht Nearly Announces Third Season For ‘Black Sails’

By | Friday July 11, 2014 @ 3:13pm PDT

TCA: Starz CEO Chris Albrecht Nearly Announces Third Season For ‘Black Sails’Starz CEO Chris Albrecht gave a virtual third-season pickup to Black Sails, his swashbuckling pirate adventure series/Treasure Island prequel from Michael Bay, when he addressed the press this afternoon at the TCA Summer TV Press Tour. “I looked at the final episode [of Season 2] the other day, and when I finished it … I thought to myself, ‘I need to find out what happens next.’” But he quickly added, “That’s certainly not an official announcement,” noting the press has taken jabs at his network for picking up shows early.

Related: TCA: Starz’s Basketball Comedy ‘Survivor’s Remorse’ Has Crossover Appeal, Say Producers & Cast

Image (1) Black Sails_STARZ_coming_2014.jpg for post 476428Participating recently in a panel with FX Networks CEO John Landgraf and Showtime chief David Nevins, Albrecht said he listened to the two men discuss how a series does not find its audience until its third season in this market. “I’m actually doing this wrong,” Albrecht said he concluded. “If we like the first season should we pick up the next two. … I’m actually beginning to think that, in this world of increased competition, I should worry less about what other people think and more about our belief in … people doing the show. Like I said, when I looked at the end of the second season, I wanted to know what happens next. So I’m optimistic.”

Asked about the state of his network, Albrecht said: “I’m at a little bit of a loss to understand why really good shows we put on haven’t created more buzz with you. … We’ve been thinking about, talking marketing-wise, spending more money on a series’ second season than less money — which is the way networks historically think. Maybe we need to lean into these things we believe in, in a big way.” Read More »

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EMMYS: Raising The Mast On Starz’s ‘Black Sails’ (Video)

By | Tuesday June 10, 2014 @ 2:38pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: How many pirate TV shows do you know of in the history of the medium? For Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, the lives of buccaneers repped a whole new world with Black Sails.  ”I have been making TV shows for decades and I don’t think I ever heard a pirate pitch. I heard four at the same time. I knew that Michael Bay was working on one and then it walked in (the door),” exclaimed Albrecht at Saturday’s Produced By Conference.  Looking to ride a wave, NBC decided to dip their toes in the genre recently with Friday’s Crossbones starring John MalkovichStill, no threat to Starz.  ”We may not have John Malkovich, but we’re spending more money, I’ve seen the scripts, I know what it takes (for this genre), and if you want to watch a TV show, ours is going to be better,” added Albrecht. There’s no CGI at work here as seen in this behind-the-scenes video where Black Sails co-creator/executive producer Jonathan Steinberg and the show’s costume and production design team discuss their process, of particular note: It took four to five months to build that pirate ship.

Related: Produced By Conference — Top Cable Bosses Undeterred By Netflix

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Premiere Ratings For Starz’s ‘Power’ Down From ‘Black Sails’, On Par With ‘The White Queen’

By | Monday June 9, 2014 @ 2:50pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

powerkeyart__140408203607Starz‘s latest original drama series, Power, premiered on Saturday with 462,000 Live+same day at 9 PM, 1.27 million for the three Saturday night airings and 2.022 million for the nine weekend runs on Saturday and Sunday. That was down from Starz’s most recent debut, pirate drama Black Sails, which launched in January with 846,000; 1.7 million and 2.6 million, respectively; and roughly on par with last August’s opening of limited series The White Queen (416,000 for the premiere airing; 2.1 million for premiere weekend). Before The White Queen, Starz’s original series launched on Friday, not Saturday, making direct comparisons trickier. Like The White Queen, the debut weekend of Power, exec produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, included an airing on sister channel Encore, which drew 150,000 extra viewers vs. 500,000 for The White Queen. With that and Power’s multiplatform sampling from the week-long on-demand and online sampling campaign, which yielded an additional 480,000 viewers,  the total viewership for the first episode has climbed up to 2.6 million to date. Additionally, the premiere has logged Starz’s youngest demos since Spartacus: War Of The Damned and an evenly balanced gender split (45% Women 18+, 48% Men 18+), which is rare for the male skewing pay cable network.

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Starz’s ‘Black Sails’ Debuts OK

By | Monday January 27, 2014 @ 2:12pm PST

BlackSails1_041913_3790.mediumThere was lots of high drama on the high seas for the premiere of Starz‘s new series Black Sails on Saturday night. Debuting at 9 PM ET, the Michael Bay-produced Treasure Island prequel pulled in 846,000 viewers, down from the 1.04 million that Da Vinci’s Demons drew for its April 12, 2013, debut on the cable channel but better than the 819,000 who tuned in for 2011’s Torchwood: Miracle Day. While premiering on a Saturday as opposed to a Friday like Demons, Black Sails also did not have the advantage of the series finale of Spartacus: War Of The Damned as a lead-in as Demons did. On the bigger Starz sea, Black Sails did fare better than the launch of miniseries White Queen (457,000 for its preview and 418,000 for its premiere last August 17) as well as the now-cancelled Magic City (295,000) and Boss (659,000). Over all plays on Starz this weekend, Black Sails picked up another 445,000 viewers (for its 10 PM showing), 228,000 (11 PM) and 135,000 (2 AM) telecast for a total of just more than 1.65 million viewers. The Starz premiere high mark remains Camelot, which drew 1.125 million in its 2011 debut.

Related:
Starz Ballet Drama ‘Flesh And Bone’ Gets Series Order, Casts Lead
TCA: Starz’s Chris Albrecht Read More »

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TCA: ‘Black Sails’ Star Toby Stephens Not A Big Fan Of Mom Maggie Smith’s ‘Downton Abbey’

By | Friday January 10, 2014 @ 12:31pm PST

Black SailsStarz‘s new swashbuckling pirate adventure series/Treasure Island prequel from Michael Bay goes 24 full minutes without nudity, which is a record for the pay cable network, a TV critic announced during the Black Sails Q&A session at  TCA where Starz also released a new trailer for the new series. (watch below) The critic then asked Starz if being the “boobs and blood” network is something it embraces. To their credit, everyone from Starz who was in the rTCADeadline__140109155905__140109183154oom resisted the urge to hit the critic over the head with a blunt instrument. Instead, they explained that it’s “part of the possibility of pay TV” that Starz can tell stories without ad breaks, and without broadcast or even basic cable TV content restrictions. And, of course, Not Gratuitous.

Related: TCA: Starz’s Chris Albrecht On 2014 Plans, ‘White Queen’ Sequel, ‘Magic City’s Demise

Show creator/exec producer Jonathan Steinberg told the TV critics he’d never felt pressure to make this show sexier, or more violent. The show is violent, and the violence is sudden “the way violence feels in real life,” he explained. And, in re sex, he noted the pirates “almost certainly had sex in a world where none of them had job and they can kind of do what they will. I don’t think it ever gets gratuitous.”

Related: TCA: “They Want To Lick Him” ‘Starz’s Outlander’ Author Says Of Fans And Her Hero

Starz_logoStar Toby Stephens, Maggie Smith’s son, who has done his share of drawing-room period dramas, was asked if he watched his mom on Downton Abbey and if he prefers drawing room dramas or Black Sails. “I would any day of the week prefer to do the show I’m doing now,” he said. “I appreciate Downton for what it is. I have to say I don’t regularly tune in. It’s not the kind of show that I enjoy. I appreciate what my mom does in it, and she’s great in it. It’s not what I enjoy watching. This kind of thing is like going on an exotic vacation,” he said of Black Sails. In the UK, he said, “we do a lot of  that the kind of stuff like Downton, and a lot of detective stuff. For me, that’s kind of like ‘Seen that, done it’. I don’t want to do it for the rest of my life.”

Related: Starz Pulls Out Of Sky Atlantic Series ‘Fortitude’, To Fast Track Internal Projects
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Hot TV Trailer: Starz’s ‘Black Sails’

By | Friday October 11, 2013 @ 5:51pm PDT

Starz has dropped a new trailer for the Michael Bay-produced pirate adventure Black Sails. The high-seas drama produced a lot of buzz at Comic-Con, solidifying a decision by network brass to give it a second season renewal ahead of its January 2014 premiere. The story takes place 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and chronicles the tales of Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) and his men, including young John Silver (Luke Arnold). Check it out:

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Starz Beats Q2 Earnings Expectations With Increase In Weinstein Co Titles

By | Thursday August 1, 2013 @ 5:51am PDT

The numbers look good, even though they were helped by one-time developments including an increase in the number and performance of films it distributes for The Weinstein Co. Starz reported net income of $66.0M, -5.1% vs last year’s Q2, on revenues of $517.4M, +28.5%. The top line was well above the $406.8M that analysts expected. Earnings at 52 cents a share also beat forecasts for 42 cents. Starz says it had a $18.6M one-time gain as two new affiliation agreements enabled it to recognize deferred revenue, in addition to the help from Weinstein. That was partly offset by a reduction in its productions at the Film Roman animation studio. Ad and marketing costs also rose as it promoted two original series vs one in the same period last year. Starz subscriptions increased 5% from a year ago to 21.8M while Encore was +3% to 35.1M. “Our plan for original programming is increasing in both quality and scale thanks to the recent greenlight of both Outlander and Power, with both dramatic series expected to have their Starz premieres in 2014,” CEO Chris Albrecht says. “With The White Queen debuting this month and drawing strong buzz domestically and abroad, we are well positioned to continue momentum with our original programming heading into 2014 where five series are now scheduled to air on our flagship network, led off by Black Sails which we have already renewed for a second season.”

Related:Read More »

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TCA: Starz Renews ‘Black Sails’ For Second Season, Picks Up ‘Dancing On The Edge’ Mini

By | Friday July 26, 2013 @ 11:50am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

At the top of Starz‘s TCA presentation, the network’s topper Chris Albrecht announced a second-season renewal for the Michael Bay-produced Black Sails ahead of the pirate drama’s January debut. Albrecht said the network brass were already high on the series and had opened the writers room to start working on scripts for a second season when a strong reaction to Black Sails at Comic-Con solidified the renewal decision. “We thought that Michael Bay, (creator/showrunner) Jon Steinberg and their teams deserved all the time; these shows are massive undertakings and an early renewal gives them the opportunity to prepare for the second season the same way they prepared for the first, and it gives us the opportunity to keep the show on a 12-month cycle,” Albrecht said. Starz has a habit of giving shows a second season renewal before the premiere, it did it with Boss, Magic City and Spartacus. Additionally, Starz has picked up Stephen Poliakoff’s five-part BBC miniseries Dancing On The Edge, which will air on Starz in late fall. It is about a black jazz band in London in the early 1930s. The goal for next year is to have 50 hours of original programming, Albrechts said.

Related: TCA: Chris Albrecht On James Gandolfini: “He Changed My Life” Read More »

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Michael Bay’s Starz Series ‘Black Sails’ To Premiere In January

By | Tuesday May 7, 2013 @ 9:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Black Sails, Starz‘s upcoming pirate adventure series executive produced by Michael Bay, will debut next January. (It had been targeted for 2014.) NBC is yet to set a premiere date for its pirate series Crossbones starring John Malkovich. Starz also has released key art and two more teasers (watch one below) for the eight-episode drama, which takes place 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and chronicles the tales of Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) and his men, including young John Silver (Luke Arnold). The first Black Sails trailer was released last month.

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TV Trailer: Starz’s Pirate Series ‘Black Sails’ Produced By Michael Bay

By | Wednesday April 17, 2013 @ 6:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Here is a first-look trailer for Black Sails, Starz‘s upcoming pirate adventure series executive produced by Michael Bay, which is slated to air next year. The eight-episode drama takes place 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and chronicles the tales of Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) and his men, including young John Silver (Luke Arnold). Threatened with extinction on all sides, they fight for the survival of New Providence Island, most notorious criminal haven of its day — a debauched paradise teeming with pirates, prostitutes, thieves and fortune seekers. Co-starring in the series, created by Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine, are Zack McGowan, Hannah New and Jessica Parker Kennedy.

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Luke Arnold To Play Michael Hutchence In Shine’s INXS Biopic ‘Never Tear Us Apart’

By | Thursday April 4, 2013 @ 1:51am PDT

Aussie actor Luke Arnold, who’s starring in Michael Bay’s pirate adventure Black Sails, is in negotiations to play late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence in Never Tear Us Apart: The INXS Story. Shine Australia is producing for Oz’s Seven Network. The two-part, four-hour saga traces the band’s rise and the aftermath of Hutchence’s 1997 death. Shooting is slated for Melbourne later this year. Arnold is currently in Cape Town playing Long John Silver in Starz‘ eight-episode Black Sails that’s set 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. He’s repped by WME, Caliber Media and LMCM in Australia.

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Starz’s ‘Black Sails’, MTV’s ‘Teen Wolf’ Add To Casts

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 11:30am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Veteran British actor Mark Ryan has joined Starz’s upcoming series Black Sails, the eight-episode pirate adventure executive produced by Michael Bay that is set 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Ryan will play Gates, Captain Flint’s (Toby Stephens) right-hand man. Ryan, who has been the on-set presence of the Autobots on all three Transformers movies, is managed by Sandy Oroumieh. Read More »

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Starz’s ‘Black Sails’ Adds To Cast

By | Thursday November 15, 2012 @ 10:15am PST

Zach McGowan and Luke Arnold have joined the cast of Starz‘s original series Black Sails, the eight-episode pirate adventure created by Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine that is set 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. McGowan will play Captain Charles Vane, a rival to the feared and fabled buccaneer Captain Flint (played by Toby Stephens), whose exploits serve as the focal point of the drama series. McGowan, repped by Innovative Artists and Intellectual Artists Management, is coming off a stint on Showtime’s Shameless. Aussie native Arnold will take on the role of the iconic seafarer John Silver in the years before his well-known feats. Also joining the cast is Jessica Parker Kennedy (the CW’s The Secret Circle) as Max, a tortured young prostitute who sees the dark side of the bustling pirate port of New Providence. Hakeem Kae Kazim (Hotel Rwanda), Toby Schmitz (The Pacific) and Clara Paget (The Fast And The Furious 6) also have been cast. The production begins shooting this year in Cape Town, South Africa, and the first season is set to debut in 2014.

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Series ‘Black Sails’ & Pilot ‘Trooper’ Add To Casts

By | Wednesday November 7, 2012 @ 7:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

English actress Hannah New is set to co-star opposite Toby Stephens in Starz’s upcoming pirate drama series Black Sails, executive produced by Michael Bay. The eight-episode series, created by Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine, is set 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and chronicles the adventures of fabled buccaneer Captain Flint (Stephens) and his men. New, repped by IFA, UK’s CAM and attorney Lev Ginsburg, will play Eleanor, the beautiful, courageous and determined owner of a rowdy Open Nassau saloon who wields considerable influence in her dual roles as fence/supplier and party host. New starred in the CW pilot Shelter last year.

Alimi Ballard (Numbers) and Alex Shaffer (Win Win) have joined the cast of TNT’s drama pilot Trooper. The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced project centers on KJ (Mira Sorvino), a recently divorced female state trooper who is as unconventional at work as she is at home raising her three kids. Her partner on the job is Burk, a widowed father who has a much more by-the-book approach to policing. Ballard, repped by Stone Manners Salners and manager Cohn/Torgan, will play Lt. Hollis Figgins, KJ and Burk’s superior officer, a savvy, sensitive man who leads by example. Shaffer, repped by CAA and Anonymous Content, will play KJ’s teen son Lee, a rebel with a cause.

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Duo Cast In ABC Family Pilot ‘The Fosters’, Jessica Parker Kennedy Boards ‘Black Sails’

By | Monday October 1, 2012 @ 7:59am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Australian actress Maia Mitchell and David Lambert have landed lead roles opposite Teri Polo and Sherri Saum in ABC Family‘s drama pilot The Fosters, executive produced by Jennifer Lopez. The project tells the story of Stef (Polo) and Lena (Saum) Foster, a mixed-race couple who are raising Stef’s biological son Brandon (Lambert), along with several adopted children. When Lena decides to take in Callie (Mitchell), a troubled teen with an abusive past, Callie’s disruptive ways threaten to turn the Fosters’ lives upside down. Brandon, who has a warm relationship with his two moms and adoptive siblings, is instantly drawn to Callie. Mitchell, repped by Station 3′s Peter McGrath and Eaton Management in Australia, plays the female lead of the Disney Channel’s upcoming 1960s TV movie/musical Teen Beach Movie. Lambert is with Osbrink and Industry’s Dan Spilo.

The Secret Circle co-star Jessica Parker Kennedy is set to co-star opposite Toby Stephens in Starz’s upcoming pirate drama series Black Sails, executive produced by Michael Bay. The eight-episode series, created by Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine, is set 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and chronicles the adventures of fabled buccaneer Captain Flint (Stephens) and his men. Kennedy, repped by Armada Partners, Gersh and Chad Christopher, will play the role … Read More »

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Toby Stephens Set As The Lead In Starz’s Michael Bay-Produced Series ‘Black Sails’

By | Thursday September 13, 2012 @ 12:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Toby Stephens Black SailsBritish actor Toby Stephens (Die Another Day) has been cast in the lead role of Captain Flint in Starz’s upcoming pirate drama series Black Sails, executive produced by Michael Bay. The eight-episode series, created by Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine, is set 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and chronicles the adventures of fabled buccaneer Captain Flint and his men. The series is in pre-production in Cape Town, South Africa, with Starz eying it for a launch in early 2014, possibly inheriting the Spartacus slot. Read More »

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Neil Marshall To Direct Starz’s ‘Black Sails’

By | Tuesday August 28, 2012 @ 4:28pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Feature writer-director Neil Marshall (The Descent) is set to direct the pilot episode of Starz’s upcoming pirate drama series Black Sails, executive produced by Michael Bay. The eight-episode series, created by Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine, is set 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island and chronicles the adventures of fabled buccaneer Captain Flint and his men. The series is currently in pre-production in Cape Town, South Africa, with Starz brass eying it for a launch in early 2014, possibly inheriting the Spartacus slot.

Marshall recently made his TV debut directing the Blackwater episode of HBO’s fantasy series Game Of Thrones, which received a lot of praise for its depiction of the Battle of the Blackwater, described as one of the best battle sequences ever done on television. Marshall, repped by ICM Partners and Principato-Young, is currently developing the features Hellfest for Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla and CBS Films and The Last Voyage of the Demeter for Phoenix Pictures and Millennium.

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