Omari Hardwick (Dark Blue) has landed the lead in Starz‘s drama series Power, from CBS TV Studios and executive producers Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Mark Canton and Randall Emmett. Created/executive produced by Courtney Kemp Agboh, Power, which has an eight-episode order, tells the story of James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Hardwick), a wealthy New York City nightclub owner who wants to build an empire, turn the club into a Fortune 500 business, but there’s just one problem: Ghost is living a double life as the kingpin of the most lucrative drug network in New York. His marriage, family and business all become unknowingly threatened as he is tempted to leave his criminal life behind and become the rags-to-riches businessman he wants to be most of all. “When we met Omari, we knew he had all the tools needed to play such a complicated and complex character,“ said Starz Managing Director Carmi Zlotnik. Hardwick, repped by Innovative and 3 Arts, has appeared in features The A-Team and Kick-Ass.
EXCLUSIVE: It is the end of the road for Starz‘s Magic City. The pay cable network has opted not to order a third season of the period drama, with the Season 2 finale on Friday serving as a series finale. Magic City, which chronicled the collision of mobsters, politicians and entertainers at a posh Miami hotel in 1959, just as Fidel Castro took control of Cuba, was created by Mitch Glazer based his own recollection of growing up in Miami. “We are tremendously proud of the series and everyone involved,” Starz said in a statement. “From the writers, to the cast and crew, it has been an incredible collaboration. This was a story born from Mitch Glazer’s singular vision of Miami, the Magic City of his childhood, and we are grateful to him for bringing it to life on Starz. The season’s story arc will allow us to deliver a satisfying conclusion to the series, and we thank all the fans who checked in to the Miramar Playa.” At TCA last month, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht teased that the last few episodes of the show contain a lot of surprises that will answer questions.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At today’s TCA, Hannah Ware, who plays Sara in ABC’s new drama Betrayal, said she could not speculate on what might have happened to her character in her other recent TV drama, the canceled Starz series Boss, because that show might have a new life “in some film format.”
On the panel for Betrayal, Ware said in response to a question that she believes Boss had the creative juice to last for a third year. She added that a “bad time slot” contributed to Boss’s demise after two seasons. But when pressed about how her character’s story might have evolved, she said she couldn’t reveal that because of the tentative film plans.
But she quickly added “I don’t know” when asked for specifics, and did not confirm whether she’d been asked to reprise her Boss role of Emma Kane in a film.
Earlier in the session, the panelists — executive producers David Zabel and Lisa Zwerling, cast members Ware, Stuart Townsend, James Cromwell and Henry Thomas — spent their time defending a story line that involves an affair between two married characters (Ware’s Hanna and Townsend’s Jack). “If you embark on an affair and both of you are married it’s never going to be easy,” said Ware, apparently without irony.
UPDATE: No Miramax-Weinstein Merger; Miramax Revving TV/Film Production: Joint Ventures Planned With Starz, Weinsteins, Others; ‘Copland’ Reboot As Starz TV Show
UPDATE SATURDAY 2:30 AM: Ignore those media stories claiming Miramax and The Weinstein Co are in talks for a potential merger. Even while on vacation I can tell you definitively they’re overblown. I’ve learned a merger is impossible because of The Weinstein Co‘s structure. As I first reported Friday, what is true is that Colony Capital/Miramax chief Tom Barrack and Harvey Weinstein just spent time in St Tropez conferring about ways to work together because of lots of joint venture opportunities. Such co-productions would give Harvey access to his most coveted projects from his Miramax heyday which is why he wanted to buy it back from Disney in 2010. The Weinstein Co and others are courting Miramax because its cash flow will exceed $160 million this year. “So all of the production groups would like to plug into this free cash flow with their development pipeline,” my insider said Friday.
EXCLUSIVE … FRIDAY 1 PM: Hollywood needs more production and financing right now. So the good news is that Miramax is about to become a movie/TV player ”big time” under Colony Capital chief Tom Barrack’s direct oversight following Richard Nanula’s exit. “There will be some big announcements in the next 60 days of productions and joint ventures,” one of my sources says. I’ve learned that first up is this project: Miramax and Starz have agreed to develop and cofinance a one-hour TV series based on the critically well-received 1997 Miramax film Copland. The pic’s scripter-director James Mangold is executive producing the TV show with Cathy Konrad and Adam Fields. Mangold and Bryan Goluboff (The Basketball Diaries, 2008′s In Treatment) are writing the pilot.
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, …
Los Angeles, Calif. – July 30, 2013 – Starz and Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution announced a multiyear film library licensing agreement for hundreds of Fox movies to air commercial-free on the STARZ and ENCORE premium channels and associated HD, on-demand, and authenticated online offerings, including STARZ PLAY and ENCORE PLAY.
The multiyear agreement is the largest ever between the companies, with about forty percent of the feature films newly licensed to Starz and thus available for the first time on the company’s respective premium offerings.
“We’re telling better stories, better this year,” Hell On Wheels showrunner John Wirth (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), who is new to the show, told TV critics this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013. Wirth’s the guy who came to the show after the creators’ contracts were not renewed and the guy who took their place took a powder three days later. Naturally press-tour attendees were eager to hear what the new guy had to say. Addressing the ballroom full of TV critics, reporters, bloggers, and tweeters, Wirth said he’s kept “virtually the same writing staff” but is taking a very different approach than that of creators Joe and Tony Gayton. “The show kicked off with revenge being the motivation. That gets wearisome for people over time,” Wirth said. “So we shifted gears…shifting more into an area of redemption, or as we call it, ‘reconstruction’. It’s opened the show, and made the characters more embraceable.”
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
With the Royal birth of William and Kate fresh in everyone’s mind, it made perfect sense to ask Philippa Gregory — author of the bestselling novels based on England’s medieval War of the Roses that led to the new 10-episode Starz limited series The White Queen — her opinion. During a TCA panel promoting the period drama that premieres August 9, , the brash and opinionated Gregory didn’t mince words: “OK, I’m going to save you all a lot of time and trouble here by saying I am utterly indifferent about Kate and Will’s baby”, she said. “I know this is terrible. It’s like blasphemy. And I couldn’t care less.” Why so indifferent? Gregory allowed that of course she’s happy the baby is healthy, but “I’m also extremely glad for his sake that it’s a boy,” she said. “Because (the child) is going to have a terrible life, and if he’d been a girl it’d have been a nightmare.” She added that during the medieval period when the White Queen story is based, a woman could not have inherited the throne, and that she’s at least pleased that the monarchy has sufficiently progressed to eliminate that little piece of sexism.
Related: Media Mob Cheers Royal Baby Boy
One day after HBO execs said they would not telecast the pilot for a drama series James Gandolfini filmed shortly before his death, the former head of HBO was asked at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013 to say something about the actor, who died last month of a heart attack at age 51. Starz chief Chris Albrecht, who’d headed programming at HBO when The Sopranos was picked up, with Gandolfini cast in the lead role, responded: “Gandolfini was part of years and experience and a project that changed my life and changed everybody’s lives that were intimately involved with it… He was an extraordinarily talented man, and in my opinion nobody has ever been better in anything than James was in The Sopranos. And he was a very nice man.”
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.
UPDATE, 9:05 AM: After a premature tweet by Starz last week, Sam Heughan was officially set today as the male lead in the upcoming drama series Outlander, based on Diana Gabaldon’s novels. ”I am UTTERLY delighted to confirm that Sam @Heughan is cast as Jamie Fraser in #Outlander_Starz #Outlander“ Gabaldon said on Twitter today. ”From the very beginning, I knew the part of Jamie Fraser would be difficult to cast. I had no one in mind for the part. I knew that someone would just come into the audition and be Jamie Fraser. And that’s what Sam did,” added executive producer Ron Moore in a statement. The Scotland-born Heughan is repped by UTA and Ruth Young at United Agents. Outlander begins shooting this fall in Scotland and is expected to debut on Starz next spring.
PREVIOUSLY, FRIDAY PM: Turns out Starz says its digital division made a mistake earlier today posting the tweet confirming Sam Heughan as the lead. Starz now has taken down the tweet announcing Heughan as Jamie Fraser in the TV adaptation of the Outlander series. A press rep says the actor is in talks with no deal finalized yet. “I can’t confirm that contract is signed, but saw @heughan audition tapes. #jawdrop,” tweeted Outlander author Diana Gabaldon on Friday after Starz had taken down the initial tweet.
More than three weeks after Starz greenlighted Outlander to series with a 16-episode order, the network is making the pickup official with a press announcement for the project, an adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s hugely successful novels from Battlestar Galactica alum Ron Moore and Sony Pictures TV. Here it is:
Beverly Hills, Calif., June 25, 2013 – Starz Chief Executive Officer, Chris Albrecht, announced today that Starz will partner with Sony Pictures Television to greenlight “Outlander,” an original series adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international bestselling books. The network has ordered 16 episodes of the series which will begin filming in Scotland this fall. It is slated to premiere in 2014.
The series adaptation for “Outlander” will be written by Ronald D. Moore (“Battlestar Galactica”). Ronald D. Moore and Jim Kohlberg are executive producers of “Outlander,” which is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining and Supply Company and Left Bank Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television.