Starz has made changes to its Encore pack of channels citing the nation’s evolving demographics and focusing on groups who over-index in viewing within the premium pay TV category. That translates to shuffling some of the eight Encore-branded channels to target baby boomers, Black and Latino audiences and the company acquiring older TV series to serve them, something rarely done on premium cable which is traditionally built on movies and original series. Starz also is launching a horror block on Encore Suspense.
Beginning December 2, Encore Drama will be replaced by Encore Black, a channel catering to the African-American community, traditionally over-indexed on premium channel viewership. The channel’s programming lineup will include Martin Lawrence’s 1st Amendment Stand Up and off-network series What’s Happening!!, Diff’rent Strokes, 227, and Amen. The December launch will spotlight actor Samuel L. Jackson with films such as Unbreakable, Losing Isaiah, Freedomland and One Eight Seven.
Another HD channel, Encore Classic, will replace Encore Love. It will focus on the Baby Boomer set, with a mix of movies and classic TV series such as Murphy Brown, Magnum, P.I., and Night Court, Kramer vs. Kramer, American Graffiti, Independence Day, Breaking Away, Stand By Me, Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery, Good Will Hunting, Tootsie, Basic Instinct and The Notebook. Read More »
BBC Two’s star-studded five-part period drama Dancing On The Edge centers on a black jazz band in early 1930s London and debuts Monday in the UK. We’ve learned that Encore is in negotiations for the U.S. rights to the miniseries that stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew Goode, John Goodman, Jacqueline Bisset, Angel Coulby, Anthony Head, Janet Montgomery and Jenna-Louise Coleman. Stephen Poliakoff created the show tracing the rise of the Louis Lester Band as they find fame amongst the parties and performances of London’s upper class society. Although many recoil, the city’s more progressive socialites, including members of the Royal Household, take the band under their wing. Ruby Film and Television produces the series for BBC Two, backed by Endgame Entertainment, Playground, Creative England and LipSync Productions. Producers are Faye Ward and Nicky Kentish Barnes; Poliakoff exec produces with Alison Owen and Paul Trijbits. ITV Studios Global Entertainment is distributing outside the U.S. Here’s the trailer:
Englewood, Colo., October 8, 2012 – Starz Entertainment announced today the launch of the STARZ PLAY and ENCORE PLAY authenticated online services. The company made the announcement with Cox Communications, the first multichannel video provider to offer the service. STARZ PLAY and ENCORE PLAY services are available today for all Cox Communications customers in United States. Starz expects to launch MOVIEPLEX and MOVIEPLEX PLAY with Cox and announce additional launch agreements with its distribution partners in the future.
Starz’s new period drama Magic City, set at a Miami Beach hotel in 1959, will premiere on Friday, April 6, the network announced at TCA today. It stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the hotel’s owner.
Meanwhile, sibling Encore will air the four-part BBC miniseries The Crimson Petal And The White, an adaptation of Michel Faber’s bestselling novel. It will make its U.S. debut March 6. The psychological thriller set in the underbelly of Victorian-era London stars Romola Garai (Atonement) and Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids), with Gillian Anderson (The X-Files), Shirley Henderson (Harry Potter) and Richard E. Grant (Withnail and I).
UPDATE, 12: 00 PM: No word from Starz execs about when they might announce a digital streaming deal to replace the one with Netflix, which expires in February. “There are a lot of conversations going on,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht told analysts today. “It’s a road that needs to be evaluated almost on a weekly basis.” The company hopes to license programs from its premium channel to a premium-priced streaming service – meaning, one that charges more than Netflix. As more companies enter the online video market “they’ll begin to segment and differentiate,” says Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei. “That’s something we would embrace.” Albrecht said that “we didn’t believe it was appropriate to have our products included in a low-cost service.” Do they really expect lots of consumers to pay high prices in this weak economy — especially with the anemic numbers cable and satellite companies are posting for premium channels? At Starz the 3Q sub figure was Read More »
The odd collection of stocks controlled by John Malone’s Liberty Media are enjoying a nice pop today after the company reported generally upbeat 2Q data. Shares of Liberty Starz are up 5.2% at mid-day. The company says that Starz ended the quarter with 19M subscribers — its highest ever and up 200,000 from March. But Encore was down by 200,000 to 32.9M. The company doesn’t mind: It reported $403M in revenue, up 5% vs the same period last year and beating the $396.1 that analysts expected. The company says it gained $8M from higher prices for its channels, $6M from the subscriber growth, and $3M from sales of home video and licensing rights to its original productions. Meanwhile, shares of Liberty Interactive — which includes QVC — are up 7.8% at mid-day after the company reported a 9% revenue increase to $2.2B, on target with expectations. QVC was up 8% to $1.9B. Sales of accessories, apparel, and home goods in the U.S. were up but jewelry was down. Although the number of transactions fell 4% to 25.7M, that was outweighed by an increase in the average value of each sale to $52.02 from $48.10. QVC plans broadcasts from the LA Live complex that will enable it to “provide a localized look and feel for our West Coast audience during their prime television viewing hours,” says QVC chief Mike George. Elsewhere in Malone-land, Liberty Capital shares are up 4.6% and Liberty Global’s … Read More »
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Eighty-five-year-old Jerry Lewis took over the room this afternoon during an Encore session at the TCA tour to promote the original feature-length documentary Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis, slated to premiere this fall. Outfitted with a platform and a microphone, the comedy legend didn’t disappoint, holding court and sparing no opinion about an industry that he believes has lost its way. He refused to confirm that his forthcoming Labor Day Telethon in September would be his last, noting that he’d have a press conference Sept. 5 to discuss not the past but the future (presumably both his and the telethon’s).
Earlier, Lewis rolled off on a tangent about why Hollywood needs fixing. ”This business is scrounging around for what to do,” he said. “The medium is busy knocking its brand out to display the fat lady at 375 pounds (who) in two months is gonna be 240. Who gives a shit?” He continued, “The industry has destroyed themselves. It’s no longer relevant because it puts out all of its product on a stupid phone. You’re going to put ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ on that goddamned stupid sonofabitch?” (Speaking of Twitter and Facebook) “They’re wonderful technical advances. But once people see how much it’s cluttering their life, they’ll figure it out for themselves. … We’re not going to have human beings in 20 years. People won’t be talking to other human beings. Read More »
Starz Entertainment’s Encore is taking aim at original programming, unveiling today plans to air the novel adaptation Moby Dick that stars William Hurt, Ethan Hawke and Gillian Anderson as well as a Tom Hardy-starring mini The Take based on Martina Cole’s best-selling crime novel. Moby Dick is a three-hour mini that will air over two nights Aug. 1 and Aug. 2. Hurt will play Captain Ahab, Hawke is his first mate Starbuck and Anderson is Ahab’s wife; Donald Sutherland and Raoul Trujillo also star. RHI, Tele Munchen and Gate Filmproduktion produced. The four-part thriller The Take, from ITV Studios Global Entertainment, also stars Brian Cox, Kierston Wareing, Charlotte Riley and Shaun Evans. It will air sometime in the fall alongside another original effort, the documentary Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis, which was previously announced.
Starz Entertainment announced today that its Encore premium network will add Encore Espanol to its lineup, making it the eighth channel in the family. There also will be name changes for existing channels (Encore WAM becomes Encore Family, and Encore Mystery becomes Encore Suspense), Encore Action and Encore Drama will launch in HD, and Movieplex will become a stand-alone commercial-free channel instead of simulcasting existing Encore feeds. All the changes will take effect Aug. 1. ”We have listened to our affiliates and crafted these changes to meet new opportunities in the marketplace,” said Ed Huguez, EVP sales and affiliate marketing at Starz. “These enhancements will fortify the channels and — especially for ENCORE ESPANOL — position our affiliates to capitalize on new opportunities which leverage our quality premium movie programming and grow their businesses.”
Jerry Lewis, who turns 85 today, is the subject of a feature-length original documentary, which is currently in production for a premiere on Encore in late summer.
The documentary, from director-producer Gregg Barson, will focus on the influence that Lewis has had on the entertainment industry and his relevance today via interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Alec Baldwin, Billy Crystal, Chevy Chase, Woody Harrelson, Carol Burnett, Richard Lewis, Carl Reiner, Richard Belzer, John Landis and others. Barson has been filming Lewis for the past three years and has had access to the comedian’s personal archives.