Starz and Tandem Communications Set to Unveil Eight-Hour Event Series, Based on Ken Follett's Global Bestseller, 'The Pillars of the Earth'
IAN MCSHANE, RUFUS SEWELL, DONALD SUTHERLAND TOPLINE ALL-STAR CAST FOR EPIC STORY, SET IN 12TH CENTURY ENGLAND; PREMIERING THIS SUMMER AND ONLY ON STARZ IN THE U.S.
MUNICH and LOS ANGELES, March 2 -- Starz Entertainment has acquired U.S. television rights to TANDEM Communications' ground-breaking eight-hour television adaptation of Ken Follett's bestselling novel "The Pillars of the Earth." Starz will air the series, produced by Tandem Communications, MUSE Entertainment and Ridley and Tony Scott's SCOTT FREE Films, as a summer event.
The $40 million series is directed by three-time DGA award-winner Sergio Mimica-Gezzan ("Heroes," "Into the West") and was shot on location in Hungary and Austria with a star-studded cast including: Ian McShane ("Deadwood," Sexy Beast), Rufus Sewell (The Illusionist, A Knight's Tale), Matthew Macfadyen (Ridley Scott's upcoming Robin Hood, Pride and Prejudice), Eddie Redmayne (The Yellow Handkerchief, The Good Shepherd), Hayley Atwell (The Duchess), Sarah Parish ("Merlin"), Donald Sutherland ("Dirty Sexy Money," The Italian Job), Alison Pill (Milk) and Gordon Pinsent (Away From Her)
"The Pillars of the Earth" is the first major programming deal made by Starz, LLC, President and CEO Chris Albrecht since joining the company in January. The deal was negotiated by Starz Media Deputy General Counsel, SVP Business & Legal Affairs Marc Barson and TANDEM Communications' Partner/Managing Director Rola Bauer. Starz plans to air the series this July, under the Starz Originals banner, kicking off with a two-hour premiere, followed by six one-hour episodes.
"I'm a believer in the power of event television, so 'The Pillars of the Earth' is precisely the kind of programming I want to showcase on Starz," Albrecht says. "With a strong cast, stunning direction, a compelling story based on an international best-selling book and a terrific team of producers, 'The Pillars of the Earth' is set to be one of the must-watch programs this summer."
"We are thrilled to have found such an ardent supporter of this wonderful project in Chris Albrecht and his team at Starz. Chris has always created and appreciated quality content and understands how best to market it. We could not have found a better home," says Bauer.
"Ken Follett's storytelling artistry presents a richness and brilliance we dream about when searching for outstanding properties for event television," says Ridley Scott of Scott Free. "The eight-hour television adaptation of his monumental novel 'The Pillars of the Earth' is everything we could have hoped for and we're extremely happy that Starz will be presenting 'Pillars' to a U.S. audience."
"I am delighted with the series of 'The Pillars of the Earth' � script, cast, direction, everything � and thrilled that it is going to be shown on Starz", world-renowned author Ken Follett says.
Visibility for the television production has already been greatly enhanced through relationships forged by Tandem with both oprah.com and ken-follett.co.uk. These sites, along with the dedicated Pillars site � the-pillars-of-the-earth.tv � are updated regularly and include vast production information, video web diaries and a monthly blog written by Ken Follett.
"The Pillars of the Earth" is a sweeping epic of good and evil, treachery and intrigue, violence and beauty, a sensuous, spirited story set against a backdrop of war, religious strife and power struggles in 12th Century England. Ken Follett's book, first published in 1989, has sold more than 14 million copies worldwide and been published in more than 30 languages. The 60th selection in Oprah Winfrey's Book Club, the books sold upwards of 1.4 million copies in the U.S. the day after it was featured on her show in 2007.
Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie service provider operating in the United States. It offers 16 movie channels including the flagship Starz� and Encore� brands with approximately 16.9 million and 30.6 million subscribers, respectively. Starz Entertainment airs more than 1,000 movies and new original series every month across its pay TV channels and offers advanced services including Starz HD, Encore HD, Starz On Demand, Encore On Demand, MoviePlex On Demand, Starz HD On Demand, Encore HD On Demand, MoviePlex HD On Demand, and Starz Play. Starz Entertainment (www.starz.com) is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation, and is attributed to Liberty Starz (Nasdaq: LSTZA), a tracking stock group of Liberty Media Corporation.
TANDEM COMMUNICATIONS is located in Munich, Germany and was started in 1999 by Rola Bauer and Tim Halkin. In 2007 Jonas Bauer became a partner in the company and in 2009 Malisa Scott became a partner and Chief Operating Officer. From the beginning, their strategy was to build a vertically-integrated media company whose core business is international production and worldwide distribution. From the Emmy� nominated "Dune" to the Emmy� nominated "Dragon's World" to the Golden Globe� nominated "The Company" to the Nora Roberts Franchise, Tandem continues to develop, produce and distribute high-quality projects.
TANDEM produced the DIVA Award-winning "Ring of the Nibelungs" and garnered excellent ratings on the SCI FI channel in the U.S., as well as internationally for its event movie, "Lost City Raiders." "Impact" premiered successfully in the U.S. on ABC Network.
In 2009, TANDEM launched the new Patricia Cornwell movie franchise with "At Risk" and "The Front," based on her worldwide bestselling crime novels.
MUSE ENTERTAINMENT ENTERPRISES, headed by President and CEO Michael Prupas, is a major Canadian independent film and television producer and a leading service producer for international studios and networks. Muse Entertainment is known for bringing well-crafted, high-quality, award-winning productions with strong international appeal to big and small screens. Since 1998, Muse has produced, co-produced or provided production services on 100 TV movies and mini-series, television series and feature films. Muse's head office is located in Montreal. Muse has four production operations in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Los Angeles.
SCOTT FREE, based in London and Los Angeles, was formed in 1995 and is the film and television production company of directors Ridley Scott and Tony Scott.
The Scott brothers appointed producer David W. Zucker to start up and spearhead their television division as President in 1995. Scott Free Television has become known for such high-quality and internationally successful programs as the new CBS drama series, THE GOOD WIFE, starring Julianna Margulies, NUMB3RS, which wraps its sixth season in March 2010, award-winning long-form programs including the 14 Emmy� nominated INTO THE STORM for HBO, which is a sequel to the Emmy�-winning telefilm, THE GATHERING STORM, A&E's Emmy�-nominated miniseries, Michael Crichton's THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, and TNT's epic six-hour spy thriller, THE COMPANY, a Golden Globe� nominee, starring Michael Keaton and Alfred Molina.
This year Scott Free Films has produced the highly-anticipated Robin Hood, directed by Ridley Scott, starring Oscar�-winners Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchet, also starring Matthew Macfadyen, who plays the "Prior Philip" in the up-coming 8-hour series THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH. Previously, Scott Free Films produced the box-office smash, American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe and Body of Lies starring Leonardo DiCaprio, both directed by Ridley Scott. Tony Scott recently directed Unstoppable, starring Chris Pine and Denzel Washington and previously collaborated with Washington and John Travolta on the actioner The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. Tony Scott is also director of Man on Fire, Spy Game and Top Gun while Ridley Scott is responsible for the classic films Gladiator, Thelma & Louise, Alien and Blade Runner.
Please visit the dedicated website: www.the-pillars-of-the-earth.tv