Miniseries are coming of age again, at least according to the Television Academy, whose Board of Governors voted this year to once again give it a category of its own. This has been done from time to time depending on the health and general welfare of the miniseries format. For example, in 2011, the TV Academy felt longform television was dying on the vine and that there was just not enough entries to meet its “Rule of 14” (the minimum number of possible contenders needed to trigger a category). The networks were downsizing the form and, outside of the BBC and HBO, there wasn’t a whole lot of interest. But now, minis are exploding again and a new golden age seems to be on the horizon.
With minis roaring back on their own—they are still combined with movies in the acting, writing and directing categories—what will the landscape look like when nominees are announced July 10?
Not a Shoo-In Going into the competition, many pundits thought it was all wrapped up. HBO—which has had a streak of miniseries winners with John Adams, The Pacific, Band of Brothers and Angels in America—looked as though it had another slam dunk with its eight-part True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. It won near-unanimous raves and appeared unbeatable, particularly since, with the mini/movie split, it would not be competing with … Read More »
The Awardsline Emmy Screening Series kicked off last night with the first episode of the Starz-BBC miniseries The White Queen, “In Love With The King.” The series tells the story of three women – Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anna Neville– vying for the hand of King Edward IV in 1464 against the backdrop of the War of the Roses. Executive produced by Colin Callender and adapted from Philippa Gregory’s books, White Queen has been such a success for Starz that a sequel, The White Princess, is already in the works. White Queen has generated the largest female audience for any Starz series as well as three Golden Globe noms for best miniseries, lead actress Rebecca Ferguson (Elizabeth) and supporting actress for Janet McTeer.
In a conversation with Deadline’s Dominic Patten following the screening at the Landmark Theatre, Callender commented on the resonance of the show. “The reason why Starz wanted to do it was because it shows history from the point of view of women,” he said. “I think the female audience wants to see a show that reflects their lives with complexity and embraces the complications in their lives.”
Colin Callender‘s first producing effort, a nine-hour TV adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s stage production of The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby launched UK’s Channel 4 and won him his first Emmy in 1983. After a stint as an independent producer in his native Britain, Callender joined HBO where he shepherded films and miniseries like Angels In America, John Adams, Maria FullOf Grace and American Splendor to the tune of 104 Emmy Awards, 29 Golden Globes, 3 Oscars, and top awards at the Sundance Film Festival. Since leaving HBO in 2008, he has kept a low profile. Having started his career in theater, as stage manager at London’s Royal Court Theatre, Callender returned to his roots and built a theater slate during a break from television because of a three-year non-compete with HBO. His first play ever as a producer was Nora Ephron‘s Lucky Guy starring Tom Hanks, which was a hit last year. A year later, he is probably the busiest Broadway producer at the moment with three high-profile shows, Hedwig And The Angry Inch starring Neil Patrick Harris, which already is sizzling at the boxoffice, Harvey Fierstein’s Casa Valentina and Kenneth Branagh’s Macbeth in his New York debut. Callender also has teamed with J.K. Rowling and British theater producer Sonia Friedman for an original stage play for UK theatre based on the Harry Potter stories. Read More »
Starz has partnered with the BBC on the British broadcaster’s eight-episode limited drama series The Missing. Starz will co-produce the project, starring James Nesbitt (The Hobbit trilogy), which has begun filming in Brussels. Written by Harry and Jack Williams and directed by Tom Shankland, the thriller will air on BBC One in the UK and Starz in the U.S. in fall 2014. It is produced by New Pictures and Company Pictures in association with Two Brothers Pictures and Colin Callender’s Playground. All3media International has funded development of The Missing and retains all U.S. rights not obtained by Starz. Missing reunites the auspices behind The White Queen limited series, which was a success for Starz; it also hailed from BBC One, Company Pictures, Playground and all3media. Read More »
At the top of Starz‘s TCA session, CEO Chris Albrecht did his semi-annual State Of The Network overview, laying out his programming plans for the next year. Starz will continue to push into original programming, which accounts for almost half of Starz’s top telecasts despite representing only 5% of the pay cable’s network schedule and has fueled Starz’s streak of eight consecutive quarters of subscriber growth. First off this year is the January 25 premiere of pirate drama Black Sails, which already has been renewed for a second season — a move Albrecht called “a good and economically responsible” decision following the enthusiastic response at Comic-Con. It will be followed by the second season of Da Vinci’s Demons, which Albrecht announced will premiere on March 22; the contemporary crime underworld drama Power in late spring; and Ron Moore’s adaptation of the blockbuster Outlander books in Q3. Starz had originally slotted Sky Atlantic’s upcoming drama series Fortitude for the fourth quarter. Last month, Starz pulled out of the project because of its changed filming schedule. The network put several internal projects on fast track — including ballet drama Flesh And Bone, which already has been casting and has hired a choreographer; Survivor’s Remorse, exec produced by LeBron James; and WonderWorld, set in Ronald Reagan’s America — and Albrecht today said he plans to make a decision on which one would fill the Q3 series slot within the next couple of weeks. Read More »
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.
Starz/BBC series The White Queen launched on BBC One on Sunday night with an average 5.33M viewers, according to overnight data. That was enough to win the night with a 22.83% share from 9PM-10PM, but was off about 600,000 viewers from the slot average, according to Broadcast. The 10-episode drama is based on the bestselling historical novels by Philippa Gregory and set against the backdrop of England’s Wars of the Roses. It stars Max Irons, Amanda Hale, James Frain, Rebecca Ferguson, Faye Marsay and Janet McTeer. When the series kicks off on Starz on August 10, viewers will see a slightly different version than in the UK. Irons recently told Britain’s Metro, “You get a lot more arse in the Starz version – the cameras kept rolling after the BBC stopped the scene.” A spokeswoman for the series confirmed to The Telegraph that the an additional 30 seconds on “two or three” occasions had been filmed, but said there were no extra scenes written or shot for the Starz take. Colin Callender is executive producer for the series that’s produced by the UK’s Company Pictures. Here’s a trailer:
Sky1 HD‘s latest original drama is a two-part adaptation of the John Meade Falkner adventure novel, Moonfleet. Ray Winstone will play Elzevir Block, the leader of a band of smugglers in 18th century Dorset, England. He’s joined by Aneurin Barnard (The White Queen, Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes) who plays a young newcomer to the smuggling crew as they embark on the hunt for a lost diamond. Ashley Pharoah, creator of the original Life On Mars, wrote the adaptation that also stars Ben Chaplin, Omid Djalili and Sophie Cookson. Shooting starts this summer in Dublin. Company Pictures, producer of Starz/BBC series The White Queen, is producing Moonfleet in association with Ireland’s Element Pictures. Bletchley Circle‘s Andy de Emmony directs and Endeavour‘s Dan McCulloch produces. Exec producers are Huw Kennair-Jones, John Yorke, Claire Ingham, Pharoah and Patrick Spence. Winstone is up next in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah playing villain to Russell Crowe’s ark builder.
Starz/BBC series The White Queen will debut on Starz on Saturday, August 10, following the Friday season finale of Magic City. The 10-episode drama, based on the bestselling historical novels by Philippa Gregory, is set against the backdrop of England’s Wars of the Roses and stars Max Irons, Amanda Hale, James Frain, newcomers Rebecca Ferguson and Faye Marsay and Oscar nominee Janet McTeer. Colin Callender is executive producer for the series, produced by the UK’s Company Pictures. Hot TV Trailer: ‘The White Queen’
Starz/BBC series The White Queen is a 10-episode drama based on the bestselling historical novels by Philippa Gregory. Colin Callender is executive producer for the series that’s produced by the UK’s Company Pictures. The period drama is set against the backdrop of England’s Wars of the Roses and stars Max Irons (Red Riding Hood), Amanda Hale (The Crimson Petal & The White), James Frain (The Tudors), newcomers Rebecca Ferguson and Faye Marsay and Oscar nominee Janet McTeer. BBC One is eyeing a summer air date and Starz has it slated for August. Here’s the teaser: