Starlings Entertainment, a film financing and production company, is formally expanding into television with the official launch of Starlings Television, led by studio executive and producer Chris Philip. The company, headed by CEO Karine Martin and President Jeffrey W. Stentz, is coming off a successful investment in Paramount’s Elton John biopic, Rocketman.
Philip and Starlings have been collaborating since 2018 to develop, co-produce, and co-finance original scripted content, which the new division will focus on. It is behind two new scripted series. The first, Pandora, a YA sci-fi drama starring Priscilla Quintana (Traffik), is set to premiere July 16 on the CW. Starlings recently closed a deal with Sony International to handle international distribution.
Starlings TV also has a six-episode first season order for Departure, starring Oscar winner Christopher Plummer and Emmy winner Archie Panjabi. Produced by Shaftesbury, the series will air on Global Television Network in Canada and NBC Universal Channels in select international territories.
Starlings Television also is working closely with Ben Silverman and Howard Owens’ Propagate on a slate of scripted dramas from both companies; including a premium drama with Robert Rodriguez directing and executive producing and Oscar winner David Franzoni writing.
“We are creating a well-balanced slate while adjusting to the constant shift in content creation by offering co-financing to networks, studio partners, producers and writers worldwide,” said Philip in a statement.
Added Martin, “We are looking forward to working with top talent as we acquire, create and develop engaging TV projects that will appeal to both the US and international markets.”
Philip spent 13 years as a VP at Universal and PolyGram Filmed Entertainment before Universal acquired PolyGram, he then became President at London-based Power Television, where he helped package, sell and produce two NBC series; action series XIII: The Conspiracy, starring Val Kilmer and Stephen Dorff, and adventure series, Crusoe, starring Philip Winchester, among others.
Philip then launched Engine Entertainment, which partnered with the Silverman-run Electus, launching their international division. Philip produced with Sierra Affinity and executive-produced NBC’s prime time drama, Siberia, before going on to produce for Televisa and heading up an English-language scripted initiative where he set up six series at U.S. networks; co-created and executive-produced the 52-episode Deep Undercover, currently streaming on Netflix; acquired the Spanish format rights to Grand Hotel, with the U.S. version airing on ABC this summer; and co-created 10 episodes of spy thriller Duality, which will be shot in Mexico, with Starlings and Televisa to co-finance and co-produce.
Pandora is a young adult space epic set in the year 2199. The series centers on Jax, a resourceful young woman who has lost everything, but finds a new life at Earth’s Space Training Academy where she and her friends learn to defend the Galaxy from threats, both alien and human. In addition to Quintana, Pandora stars Oliver Dench, Raechelle Banno, John Harlan Kim, Ben Radcliffe, Banita Sandhu, Martin Bobb-Semple and Noah Huntley. It is executive produced by Mark A. Altman, Steve Kriozere, Thomas P. Vitale, Karine Martin, and Chris Philip and produced by Starlings Television in association with Radioactive Fishtank and Vital Signs Entertainment.
Departure is a six-part event series starring Panjabi and Plummer. Flight 716 — carrying 256 passengers from Boston to London – vanishes over the Atlantic. Talented investigator Kendra Malley is called in to solve the mystery, but soon finds that this crash is unlike anything she has seen before.
Departure was created by Vince Shiao and developed by Shaftesbury in association with Corus and Red Arrow Studios International, which is handling international sales. Malcolm Macrury is showrunning with T.J. Scott directing. The series is produced by Shaftesbury and Greenpoint Productions Ltd., with Starlings co-financing and Chris Philip and Karine Martin executive producing.