STARZ DEVELOPING ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE DRAMA SERIES AS FIRST INSTALLMENT OF A SLATE FEATURING "EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN OF HISTORY"
Susie Conklin Will Serve as Executive Producer and
Adapt Best-Selling Author Alison Weir's Acclaimed
"Eleanor of Aquitaine" Biography and Novel for Television
Santa Monica, Calif. - NNovember 17, 2020 - Starz, a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), announced today it is developing a slate of series inspired by "extraordinary women of history" from Lionsgate TV and Colin Callender's Golden Globe(R)-winning Playground ("Wolf Hall," "Howards End"). Starz has acquired the rights to best-selling author and historian Alison Weir's acclaimed biography Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life and its companion novel Captive Queen.
The story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the great heroines of the Middle Ages, will be the focus of the first series with additional properties to be added to the slate. Susie Conklin (A Discovery of Witches, Cranford) will pen the adaptation and serve as executive producer. Scott Huff and David Stern will oversee development for Playground and serve as executive producers on the series.
"This slate of series will focus on lesser known but undeniably exceptional female historical figures while continuing the exploration of fierce characters in history," said Christina Davis, President of Programming for Starz. "Alison Weir's novels are the perfect jumping off point for this collection of series from Playground, who are known for their sophisticated storytelling."
"We're excited to partner with Starz and Lionsgate to bring Alison Weir's acclaimed biography and novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine to television," said Huff and Stern. "Eleanor presided over a magnificent, progressive court filled with scandal and intrigue, and we're thrilled with Susie's bold and provocative take on this fascinating story."
Added Conklin, "I'm thrilled at the opportunity to bring Eleanor's story to life - the drama and adventures she experienced are truly epic. I'm also captivated at how a woman who lived over 800 years ago can be so strikingly modern. She's determined to live her life on her own terms, and the way she goes about that are extraordinary."
Eleanor of Aquitaine defied the conventions of her time as a Queen of both England and France who wielded immense political influence over the kingdoms of men. She was a wife, mother and a fierce leader in an era when women were regarded as little more than chattels. Eleanor's unwavering spirit saw her through many years of victories and defeats - a marriage bound by duty, a passionate love affair, family alliances and betrayals, the grandeur of power and the desolation of imprisonment.
Originally published in 1999, Weir's Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life received widespread acclaim and ranks among the best-selling historical biographies of all time. The Boston Globe lauded the book as "an alluringly candid portrait" while the London Sunday Times called it a "triumphantly done, lively biography." Captive Queen followed in 2010 and was met with similar acclaim, with Publishers Weekly calling it "vivid and surprisingly modern."
Alison Weir is the biggest-selling female historian and the fifth best-selling historian in the United Kingdom. She has published 30 titles and sold more than 3 million books - more than a million in the UK and 2.2 million in the US. She is now working on two concurrent series of books: Six Tudor Queens, comprising six novels on the wives of Henry VIII (with associated e-books, above), and England's Medieval Queens, a quartet of historical works of non-fiction.
Producer and writer Susie Conklin is known for her work on "A Discovery of Witches," "The Musketeers" and "Cranford" television series.
Senior Vice President of Original Programming Karen Bailey is the Starz executive overseeing "Eleanor of Aquitaine." Senior Vice President of Lionsgate Television Jocelyn Sabo is overseeing the series on behalf of Lionsgate.
Starz (www.starz.com), a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), is the global media company taking the lead in streaming premium content that spotlights a spectrum of women both in front and behind the camera for audiences worldwide. Starz is home to the flagship domestic STARZ(R) service, including STARZ ENCORE, 17 premium pay TV channels and the associated on-demand and online services, as well as the proprietary and highly-rated STARZ app. In 2018, Starz launched its Starzplay international premium streaming platform and, coupled with its Starz Play Arabia venture, has since expanded its global footprint into 50 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, Canada, Japan and India. The essential complement to any subscription platform, STARZ and Starzplay are available across digital OTT platforms and multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, and telecommunications companies around the world. Starz offers subscribers more than 7,500 distinct premium television episodes and feature films, including STARZ Original series, first-run movies and other popular programming.
Playground is a New York and London-based television, film and theatre production company. Playground has produced over 90 hours of primetime television drama garnering 16 Emmy nominations, 26 BAFTA nominations, and 12 Golden Globe nominations, including winning a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries.
Recent television productions include BAFTA and Golden Globe winning Wolf Hall, The Dresser, The White Princess, Howards End, Little Women, King Lear and The Spanish Princess. Upcoming series include All Creatures Great and Small for Masterpiece on PBS and Dangerous Liaisons for Starz.
Recent theatre productions include record breaking Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Dear Evan Hansen, Lucky Guy starring Tom Hanks, Casa Valentina, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The River starring Hugh Jackman, Macbeth at the Park Avenue Armory, John Tiffany's The Glass Menagerie, Casey Nicholaw's Dreamgirls, and Ian Rickson's Rosmersholm.
Combining the STARZ premium global subscription platform with world-class motion picture and television studio operations, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) brings a unique and varied portfolio of entertainment to consumers around the world. Its film, television, subscription and location-based entertainment businesses are backed by a 17,000-title library and the largest collection of film and television franchises in the independent media space. A digital age company driven by its entrepreneurial culture and commitment to innovation, the Lionsgate brand is synonymous with bold, original, relatable entertainment for the audiences it serves worldwide.