EXCLUSIVE: Starz has picked up The White Queen, a 10-episode drama series based on the best-selling historical novels by Philippa Gregory. The pay cable network has brought in former HBO Films president Colin Callender as executive producer for the series, produced by the UK’s Company Pictures. Callender’s duties on White Queen are part of a larger two-year agreement his company Playground has signed with Starz. Under the pact, Callender also will serve as an exec producer on the second season of Starz’s period drama Magic City. It reunites Callender with his former HBO boss Chris Albrecht, now CEO of Starz, and Starz’s managing director of original programming Carmi Zlotnik, a former 20-year HBO veteran. “Carmi and I have worked with Colin for many years, and we are excited to have such a world-class movie and television visionary lending his talents to our Starz series,” Albrecht said.
Set against the backdrop of England’s Wars of the Roses, The White Queen is an adaptation of three books from Gregory’s The Cousins War series: The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughter.
Max Irons (Red Riding Hood), newcomers Rebecca Ferguson and Faye Marsay, Amanda Hale (The Crimson Petal & The White), James Frain (The Tudors) and Oscar nominee Janet McTeer star in the series, which is slated to premiere on Starz in 2013. Starz has acquired U.S. domestic distribution rights to The White Queen from Company Pictures’ parent company ALL3Media International. It also has picked up worldwide multiplatform rights — with the exception of television rights in the UK, where the series will air on BBC One, and some TV/home video rights in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
White Queen is described as a tale of love and loss, seduction and deception, betrayal and murder woven through the stories of three different yet equally driven women caught up in the ongoing conflict for the throne: Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville. (more…)