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.
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.
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.
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