Cabler plans regular original programming

Encore is stepping into the original programming game with two miniseries, led by a “Moby Dick” adaptation starring William Hurt, Ethan Hawke and Gillian Anderson.

While not trying to emulate sister cabler Starz, which revved up its emphasis on originals with series including “Spartacus,” “Camelot” and “Torchwood: Miracle Day,” Encore does see firstrun programs as a path to a higher profile and greater subscriber acquisition and retention.

Encore’s 33 million paid subscribers already place it No. 1 in the premium cable market.

“Encore has been really successful in recent years in continuing to grow, and we see this as another method of help propel that growth even further,” said Starz Entertainment exec veep of programming Stephan Shelanski.

The expanded direction for Encore does not mean it will move into developing its own programming. Acquisitions will play a key role, and series that are developed for Starz but don’t seem to be quite the right fit could find their way to Encore.

The second miniseries, coming in the fall, is “The Take,” based on Martina Cole’s crime novel and starring Tom Hardy, Brian Cox, Kierston Wareing, Charlotte Riley and Shaun Evans. ITV Studios Global Entertainment is producing.

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