ReelzChannel has snagged U.S. premiere rights to the eight-hour miniseries World Without End, the sequel to Scott Free Films and Tandem Communications’ mini The Pillars Of The Earth that aired last year on Starz and garnered seven Emmy nominations. The two projects were based on the Ken Follett epic novels. ReelzChannel, which had great success with airing The Kennedys miniseries via its TV About Movies platform — it competed with Pillars in last year’s Emmy Miniseries or Movie category — plans a fall 2012 airdate; it acquired and aired the nine-part Pillars for its second U.S. window last year after Starz. “With The Kennedys we conditioned our audience to know that our network is home to the biggest miniseries, and World Without End is exactly that,” ReelzChannel SEO Stan Hubbard said.
Related: Tandem & Scott Free Set Cast For $44 Million Miniseries ‘World Without End’
World Without End, with a budget of $46 million, picks up 200 years after Pillars in 14th century England with a new cast of characters including Caris (Charlotte Riley), who inspires her medieval town to confront the Church and the Crown as they fight to save their town from ruin and, ultimately, usher in a new era of freedom, innovation and enlightenment. Cynthia Nixon, Miranda Richardson, Ben Chaplin, Peter Firth and Sarah Gadon co-star. Michael Caton-Jones directed.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2011 Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Miniseries or Movie race.
Mildred Pierce (HBO)
Killer Films & John Wells Prods w/ MGM and HBO Miniseries
Why It Was Nominated: Well, it was nominated for pretty much every other Emmy and so surely had to for this one. It hauled in a chart-topping 21 in all and already has won three award following last Saturday’s Creative Arts soiree. Todd Haynes’ five-part remake of the 1945 noir based on the James M. Cain book is another typically lavish, expensive, exquisite HBO multi-parter that the pay-cabler generally turns into real gold.
Why It Has To Win: Kate Winslet brings an Oscar-level cinematic cache’ to Mildred Pierce, which has historically proven to be catnip for the TV academy. The original won an Academy Award for Joan Crawford in 1945, and this one almost certainly will earn an Emmy for Winslet. Also, HBO doesn’t often lose with its big-budget miniseries, earning triumphs five times in the last 10 years (including last year for The Pacific). Plus, are voters really going to reject the year’s most decorated nominee in the most prestigious category?
Why It Can’t Possibly Win: Trust us that this one ain’t in the bag. Firstly, this is the first time the made-for-TV movie and miniseries categories have been combined with the elimination this year of the miniseries stand-alone. It’s also a fact that while HBO has won in TV-movie an astonishing 17 of the past 19 years, including seven years in a row, it only wins in alternate years with its miniseries (and it won last year). Then there is this: PBS’s Masterpiece project Downton Abbey suddenly looks unbeatable. Notes a voting writer: “I don’t know anyone who isn’t voting for Downton Abbey. It’s one of those things that if you fail to honor, you’ll feel really embarrassed about 10 years from now.” Read More »
ReelzChannel has picked up nine-part miniseries The Pillars of the Earth, which will premiere on the channel Dec. 4. This is the second U.S. window for the mini following its run on Starz last summer. Based on Ken Follett’s book, Pillars stars Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell and Donald Sutherland and was produced by Tandem Communications and Muse Entertainment in association with Ridley Scott and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Films. This is the second miniseries to air on Reelz following The Kennedys. Both are nominated in the best TV movie/miniseries Emmy category this year.
EXCLUSIVE: German-based Tandem Communications and Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Prods. have locked in the main cast of their $44 million eight-hour miniseries World Without End, a follow-up to The Pillars of the Earth, which the two companies also co-produced. Cynthia Nixon, Miranda Richardson, Ben Chaplin, Peter Firth (MI5), Charlotte Riley (The Duchess) and Tom Weston-Jones (Enlightenment) lead the cast of the mini, based on the novel by The Pillars of the Earth author Ken Follett. Michael Caton-Jones (Rob Roy) is directing from a script by John Pielmeier, who also adapted The Pillars of the Earth for Tandem and Scott Free. The two companies are co-producing World Without End with Canada’s Take 5 Prods. and Galafilm.
Set in England 200 years after the events in Pillars, World chronicles tough times for ordinary citizens who are being hit with enormous taxes by the King, the Church as England teeters on the brink of a devastating 100-year war with France, and Europe is bracing for a terrible plague, which will wipe out a third of the continent’s population. The mini centers on Caris (Riley), a visionary woman who, with her lover Merthin, builds a community that stands up to the Crown and the Church. Read More »
History’s The Kennedys and Starz’s The Pillars of the Earth can’t come soon enough. The miniseries form has been on life-support in the past couple of years, with only one U.S. network, HBO, making consistent efforts in the arena. As a result, the nomination field for best miniseries has developed a familiar pattern in the past two years: only two spots on the nomination ballot: one for HBO’s mini of the year and one for a British import broadcast as part of PBS’ Masterpiece series. Last year, it was PBS’ Little Dorrit and HBO’s Generation Kill. Little Dorrit won. This year, it’s HBO’s war extravaganza The Pacific and PBS’ Return to Cranford. With its leading 24 Emmy nominations, The Pacific looks destined to win, following in the footsteps of its predecessor, Band of Brothers. But with the series field brimming with strong contenders to a point that the top categories were expended from 5 to 6 slots last year, it is sad to see the mini-series category teetering on the brink of viability with two nominees. There had been talk about possibly merging the TV movie and mini-series categories but longform, which hails back to the early days of TV, has a strong lobby at the TV Academy, with purist arguing against mixing what they consider two very different forms. So, just like the plan for pre-taping most of the long-form Emmy categories was squashed last summer, the dwindling miniseries field is getting spared, at least for now. And there are … Read More »