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 kicks-off with a two-hour premiere of the series, produced by Tandem Communications, MUSE Entertainment and Ridley and Tony Scott’s SCOTT FREE Films, on July 23 at 10pm et/pt. The hour-long eight-part series will air Fridays at 10pm et/pt.
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, “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(R) and Encore(R) 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(R) nominated “Dune” to the Emmy(R) nominated “Dragon’s World” to the Golden Globe(R) 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.