EXCLUSIVE: Seven episodes into Da Vinci’s Demons‘ 10-episode second season run, Starz has renewed the historical fantasy series created by David S. Goyer for a third season. It will be shepherded by John Shiban who is joining as executive producer/showrunner. Goyer, who is juggling multiple film and TV projects, will remain an executive producer. “I’m very proud of this modern take on the endlessly fascinating Leonardo da Vinci — everyone from the writers, directors, cast and all the crew have been invaluable and will continue to be for what we have ahead,” Goyer said. “I’ve been a fan of John’s work for some time and I’m excited to add his voice to the mix.”
Additionally, Shiban has a drama series in the works at Starz called Blackbirds, based on the novels by Chuck Wendig. The project has set up a writers room, often a pre-cursor to a series pickup at the pay cable network. Read More »
Starz‘s fantasy drama learned the hard way last weekend just how important a lead-in can be. With the 2013 pic White House Down playing beforehand, the Season 2 premiere of Da Vinci’s Demonsfell 44% from its Season 1 debut last year. The Saturday night 9 PM airing on March 22 had 580,000 total viewers. Having the series finale of Spartacus: War Of The Damned as its lead-in, the Season 1 premiere pulled in 1.04 million total viewers in its 10 PM airing on on Friday, April 12. The news for the David S. Goyer-created series’ Season 2 debut gets a lot better when all its plays over the whole weekend are counted up. The Adjacent Productions show drew 2 million viewers over all its broadcasts last weekend. That’s just a 6% dip from the 2.14 million that Demons had over its Season 1 debut weekend last year. It’s also a 41% rise over the show’s Season 1 finale weekend in early June. The total plays for that weekend were 1.4 million. On its own, the Season 1 finale at 10PM on June 7 garnered 380,000 viewers – 34% fewer than the Season 2 debut. With Season 1 of the show getting an average audience of 1.6 million over its weekend airings, the Season 2 debut weekend was up 25%. Read More »
On the heels of its strong premiere last Friday,Da Vinci’s Demons, Starz’s new series from David Goyer, has been given a second season pickup. The historical fantasy about the young years of world’s greatest genius, Leonardo da Vinci (Tom Riley), drew 1.04 million viewers for its debut behind the series finale of Spartacus. The Da Vinci’s Demons opener was watched by more than 2.14 million total viewers over the weekend, making it the highest-rated premiere weekend ever for a Starz original series, edging Camelot (2.09 million). Starz had already made preparations for a potential second season, so production is expected to begin pretty soon, next month, for a 2014 premiere. ’Da Vinci’s Demons’ serves up action, adventure and history in a unique and highly entertaining way that only someone like David S. Goyer can,” said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht. Added Goyer, “I’m excited that we get to continue the adventures of the world’s most eccentric and glorious polymath.” Read More »
The debut of one series scored an all-time high for Starz as another went out strong. The series premiere of Starz’s Da Vinci’s Demons and the series finale of Spartacus: War Of The Damnedthis weekend was seen by 4.8 million over multiple viewings. That’s a record weekend result for Starz Original series. With a lead-in by Spartacus, the April 12 premiere of Da Vinci at 10 PM was watched by 1.04 million overall viewers. In total, the David S. Goyer created series garnered over 2.14 million viewers over all its plays over the weekend to nudge ahead of the 2.09 million in total who watched the series premiere of Camelot to hit a new high for a Starz Original series premiere. Da Vinci’s Demons is produced by Adjacent Productions as the first project under a multi-year agreement that Starz and BBC Worldwide Prods. entered into in August 2011. The lush action drama depicts the early life of the famed inventor with British actor Tom Riley playing Leonardo Da Vinci. Starz ordered eight-episodes of the first season of the series. Da Vinci’s Demons’ season finale is scheduled for June 7, 2013.
Apart from their international flavor, the shows also have in common that they were almost all picked up in straight-to-series deals. Horrormeister and Hemlock Grove exec producer Eli Roth said knowing that he had 13 episodes from the outset was “really an advantage.” It enabled him to keep working along the way on one aspect of the initial episodes – a character’s complex transformation into a werewolf. Tandem’s Rola Bauer, who’s exec producing Crossing Lines said, “I would encourage” Hollywood to do more straight-to-series orders, and “trust us.” During pilot season, she said, “everyone is chasing the same actors” and trying to access state and foreign tax credits at the same time, making for a frenzied atmosphere. But she allowed that “The UK and America are open to realizing the economic market needs to have a different way of working creatively… I hope the show makes it easier for people to come over here and make co-productions.” Read More »
Listen to (and share) the MIPTV edition of our audio podcast Deadline Festivals & Markets Watch, featuring Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione. Nancy and host David Bloom discuss trends shaping this year’s MIPTV show in Cannes, including the ongoing fight between reality and scripted drama supporters over which is the best way to go in global markets; Dark Knight and Man Of Steel scribe David Goyer’s latest project, Da Vinci’s Demons; and why CSI creator Anthony Zuiker won the Pioneer Prize for his brand-driven online series Cybergeddon. Nancy also looks ahead to likely highlights for the rest of the show.
Da Vinci’s Demons creator David S. Goyer was in Cannes this morning to present clips from the new Starz/BBC Worldwide series that debuts April 12 in the U.S. The Batman trilogy and Man Of Steel scripter said he’d already had a lifelong interest in the famed inventor when he was approached for Da Vinci’s Demons and “wrote a crazy idea I never thought they’d go for.” Likening Da Vinci to the original Batman, whose cape was based Da Vinci’s glider drawings, he said the show could be seen as “Leonardo as a superhero.” British actor Tom Riley, who plays Da Vinci, was also in the MIPTV audience and showed off his ambidextrous talents in snippets from the series which got a rousing reaction. Read More »
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At today’s panel on Starz’ new series Da Vinci’s Demons, David S. Goyer, the show’s creator, writer and executive producer, said that his first historical period project would be about 85% historically accurate. “He had a pretty incredible life, we didn’t have to embellish as much as you’d think,” Goyer said of Da Vinci, portrayed by Tom Reilly. Goyer pointed out that though Da Vinci is best known as an artist and scientist, he was also thought to be a great horseman. Turning Da Vinci into a TV superhero was not too difficult: “He’s kind of superhero-y anyway.” You can watch a trailer for the show below.
Goyer described the tone of the show as historical but “viewed through a modern prism” and likened it to a graphic novel that strives to be fun rather than a history book. He also said that there are surprising parallels between Da Vinci and Batman: “They both had big father issues, and formative horrific incidents when they were trapped in caves,” he said. He also noted that Batman’s creator designed Batman’s cape based on Da Vinci’s glider designs.
Goyer added that one of the conceits of the show is that thousands of pages are missing from Da Vinci’s writings and drawings. The show will speculate on what might have been included in those pages.
Starz today unveiled a trailer for its original series Da Vinci’s Demons, which is set to premiere on the network in the spring. The series penned by David S. Goyer stars Tom Riley as Leonardo Da Vinci navigating his turbulent youth in Renaissance Florence. He encounters plenty of obstacles as he discovers and acts on the intellect that will turn him into the world’s most important thinker.
The adventure drama written by David S. Goyer stars Tom Riley as a young Leonardo Da Vinci navigating the turbulent world of Renaissance Florence as his genius begins to emerge. The Starz-BBC Worldwide co-production is set for an eight-episode first season to premiere in the spring. Goyer is writing a production blog about Da Vinci’s Demons and unveiled some first photos, including this one of Riley as Da Vinci.
David S. Goyer’s historical fantasy series Da Vinci’s Demons was picked up straight to series by Starz with an eight-episode order back in October. Now Fox International Channels has come aboard the Starz-BBC Worldwide co-production to become the exclusive first window pay-TV broadcaster in territories outside the U.S. and Canada, similar to distribution deals it has struck for Dexter, Touch and The Walking Dead. Demons will roll out across FIC’s 200 channels in 120 countries when it premieres in early 2013; BBC Worldwide has all other international rights. The series stars Tom Riley as Leonardo Da Vinci in the untold story of the world’s greatest genius, who comes of age as an artist, inventor, swordsman, lover, dreamer and idealist in Renaissance Florence. Production is underway in Wales.
EXCLUSIVE: Clifton Collins Jr has joined ABC’s upcoming drama series Red Widow as a series regular. Based on the Dutch series Penoza, Red Widow centers on Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell) who, after her gangster husband is brutally murdered by a rival cartel, takes on the gangsters and the FBI to unveil the truth about her husband’s death. Collins will play FBI agent James Ramos. He was originally approached to play the role in the pilot but wasn’t available. Mido Hamada was cast in the part, which is now being recast. Collins Jr, repped by APA and Industry Entertainment, just wrapped the Guillermo del Toro/Warner Bros feature Pacific Rim and the Taylor Hackford-directed Parker.
British actress Lara Pulver (MI-5) has been added as a series regular to another new drama series, Starz’s Da Vinci’s Demons. Written by David S. Goyer, Da Vinci’s Demons is a historical fantasy, following the “untold” story of the world’s greatest genius Leonardo da Vinci (Tom Riley) during his turbulent youth in Renaissance Florence. Pulver will play famed enchantress and political machinator Clarice Orsini, aristocratic wife of Florentine ruler Lorenzo Medici. The actress, known to U.S. audiences for her arc on True Blood, playing fairy Godmother Claudine Crane, is riding high on her talked-about guest stint as femme fatale Irene Adler in the opening episode from Season 2 of the BBC/PBS … Read More »
British actress Laura Haddock is set to co-star opposite Tom Riley in Starz’s upcoming original series Da Vinci’s Demons. Written by David S. Goyer, Da Vinci’s Demons is a historical fantasy, following the “untold” story of the world’s greatest genius Leonardo da Vinci (Riley) during his turbulent youth in Renaissance Florence. Haddock will play Lucrezia Donati, the mistress of Lorenzo Medici and da Vinci’s lover.
Graham Greene (Dances With Wolves) has joined the cast of Syfy’s upcoming drama seriesDefiance. Set in the near future,Defiance introduces a completely transformed planet Earth, inhabited by the survivors of a universal war. It centers on Jeb Nolan (Grant Bowler), the law-keeper in bustling frontier boomtown Defiance that is one of the new world’s few oasis of civility and inclusion. Greene will play Rafe McCawley, a self-made success who owns and operates the largest mine in the territory. However, Rafe’s status as the richest and most powerful human in town comes with a price, as he struggles to navigate both familial and political alliances in this precariously assembled new world.
EXCLUSIVE: British actor Tom Riley has landed the lead in Starz’s new original series Da Vinci’s Demons, from David S. Goyer and BBC Worldwide Prods. Riley will play a young Leonardo da Vinci in the drama, described as a historical fantasy following the ‘untold’ story of the world’s greatest genius during his turbulent youth in Renaissance Florence. Brilliant and passionate, the twenty five-year old da Vinci is an artist, inventor, swordsman, lover, dreamer and idealist who begins to not only see the future, but invent it. “Given that da Vinci was the model for the ‘Renaissance Man,’ these were incredibly large shoes to fill,” Goyer said of the search to cast the role. “Leonardo had to be smart, witty, and incredibly confident – without coming across as arrogant. He also had to be tormented, because, as a true visionary and polymath, he was ostracized for his ideas as much as he was celebrated. Tom came in and was able to effortlessly combine all of those elements. As soon as he finished his audition, we knew we’d found our man.” Read More »
Analysts attending Liberty Media’s annual investor day on Thursday will be listening carefully when Starz CEO Chris Albrecht discusses his channel’s plans. His boss, Liberty Chairman John Malone, loves to buy, sell, and swap assets — as long as he can do so without paying a big tax bill. And there’s a growing belief that Malone is positioning Starz for a deal as the company focuses its branding efforts around more than 50 hours of original programs — including Boss, Magic City, Spartacus, and Da Vinci’s Demons — instead of theatrical films from Disney and Sony. For example, BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield says in a blog post today that “a transaction may…be coming to turn Starz into an asset based security” instead of just part of the Liberty Starz tracking stock. Janney Capital Markets’ Tony Wible says that Starz’ “strategic benefits could make it an M&A target.” Maxim Group’s John Tinker agrees that Starz “should be merged into a larger entity.”
Albrecht reinforced those views recently by talking up his desire to have the channel stand out as a premium service. On Friday he elaborated at the Monaco Media Forum on points he made earlier in the week on the Liberty earnings call: The channel scrapped its effort to negotiate a new streaming deal with Netflix because it didn’t set Starz apart from the video pack. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Starz has given a straight-to-series order to Da Vinci’s Demons, an adventure series from The Dark Knight/Man Of Steel co-writer David S. Goyer and BBC Worldwide Prods. Da Vinci’s Demons has received an eight-episode order and is slated to start filming in early 2012 for a 2013 premiere. This is the first project to enter production under the multi-year agreement Starz signed with BBC Worldwide Prods. in August.
Written by Goyer, Da Vinci’s Demons is described as a historical fantasy that follows the “untold” story of the world’s greatest genius during his raucous youth in Renaissance Florence. Brash and brilliant, the 25-year-old da Vinci is an artist, inventor, swordsman, lover, dreamer and idealist. As a free thinker, with intellect and talents that are almost superhuman, he struggles to live within the confines of his own reality and time. He begins to not only see the future, but invent it. “Da Vinci was the original Renaissance man — a near-mythic figure that has world-wide appeal,” Goyer said. “This will be a show about secret histories, genius, madness, and all things profane. And I’m particularly excited that I get to do it on premium cable, where the story can be as dark and challenging and irreverent as it deserves to be.”
Goyer will serve as showrunner on the series, executive producing alongside Julie Gardner and BBC Worldwide Prods. head Jane Tranter. “David has reimagined some of the most iconic superheroes of all time, and is again building an extraordinary prism through which to rediscover the world’s greatest genius and most mysterious man,” Starz Media Managing Director Carmi Zlotnik said. “If modern day has Tony Stark, the Renaissance had da Vinci.” Da Vinci’s Demons started heating up in late August when produces began sending out feelers to writers about potential staffing jobs. That has now turned to firm staffing offers. Read More »
Will Leonardo Da Vinci join Spartacus as Starz’s next leading man? It looks that way. I hear that the David S. Goyer-written Da Vinci’s Demons, about the early years of the famous Renaissance Man, is heating up at the pay cable channel. A pickup for the project is considered likely, probably straight to series, as producers have begun sending out feelers to writers about potential staffing jobs. Da Vinci’s Demons was the first project announced under the multi-year production agreement Starz signed with BBC Worldwide Prods at the beginning of this month. BBC Worldwide is deficit financing the shows under the deal, primarily from international sales, so the series are developed with the global marketplace in mind. Da Vinci’s Demons fits that bill with a protagonist who is one of the most recognizable figures in world’s art and science history.
On the heels of their collaboration on Torchwood: Miracle Day, Starz Entertainment and BBC Worldwide Prods have signed a multi-year production agreement. Under the deal, the two companies will co-develop and co-finance multiple series that will be produced by BBC Worldwide Prods. The potential output is estimated at more than 100 hours of drama series programming. Starz gets distribution rights for the U.S. and English-speaking Canada, while BBC Worldwide will distribute the series internationally. The deal essentially gives Starz a (non-exclusive) production arm without the large cost associated with overhead as Starz is looking to compete against its more established pay-cable competitors on a far smaller production budget. The network already uses a similar approach in casting, where it has been using the services of independent casting director Marc Hirschfeld who has been essentially serving as head of casting on a non-exclusive, consulting basis. The deal with BBC Worldwide will allow Starz to put on the air bigger-budget series as BBC Worldwide will deficit finance the shows, covering the difference between the license fee paid by the network and the series’ budget. The company plans to cover the deficit by international sales, so all series developed and produced under the agreement with Starz will be designed with the global marketplace in mind. The first project in the works is Da Vinci’s Demons, recently announced by BBC Worldwide Prods’ head Jane Tranter and written by David S. Goyer. The pact instantly … Read More »