Starz is developing a series set to star Antonio Banderas, the premium cabler’s CEO Chris Albrecht announced Friday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. Banderas will also serve as an exec producer.
“Havana Quartet,” based on the popular book series by Cuban novelist Leonardo Padura, follows a hard-drinking, romantic Cuban Police Detective Mario Conde (played by Banderas) who longs to be a writer but settled for a job as a detective.
Eduardo Machado (“Magic City”) will pen the pilot and serve as exec producer, along with the Paradigm-repped Banderas, Nadcon Film’s Peter Nadermann, plus Sienna Films’ Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny.
Being developed from Entertainment One Television’s “Havana Quartet,” eOne will produce the series and distribute the hourlong drama worldwide.
“Starz continues to see great opportunity in continued programming diversification with many communities and genres,” said Albrecht. “Partnering with eOne to develop the drama series ‘Havana Quartet’ with international star Antonio Banderas will allow us to give viewers a premium show that highlights the decaying beauty of Cuba during its ‘Special Period’ — a time and place which tourists rarely got to experience.”
During Starz’s TCA session, Albrecht noted that Starz has recently concentrated on programming targeted toward underserved audiences and women, adding that it’s “paid off.”
Pancho Mansfield, president of global scripted programming of eOne Television, commented, “‘Havana Quartet’ is a series that captures both the romance and the underbelly of a country that has struck our collective curiosity and imagination for decades, and it was important for us to create a show that is authentic to Padura’s elegant, noir-tinged novels and to Cuba itself. We are delighted to partner with Starz and to have assembled such an exceptional team of talent to bring this special project to life.”
Also at TCA, Albrecht announced that Starz is getting into the binging game with online and on-demand availability for upcoming limited series “Flesh and Bone” and the final season of “Da Vinci’s Demons,” making all episodes of both projects available for subscribers on Starz Play and Starz On Demand, at the time of the first episode premieres, much like NBC did with “Aquarius.” The entire third season of “Da Vinci’s Demons” will be available Oct. 24 with all 10 episodes, and “Flesh and Bone’s” eight-episode run will be out Nov. 8.
“Starz has had a fantastic year with original programming in 2015 and we are rewarding our Starz subscribers with two special opportunities to immerse themselves into quality series and enjoy them on their own schedules,” Albrecht said.
David Baldwin, EVP of program planning for Starz, added, “The great and passionate followers of
‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ have been waiting since the spring of last year for new episodes, while the gritty world of ballet as depicted in the ‘Flesh and Bone’ limited series is must-see television for fans of the genre and great television alike. Both series are engaging and well-suited for a binge viewing experiment. In the busy fall television season, we thought this was a terrific benefit for Starz subscribers who want to get a jump and enjoy the complete series on their own time and schedule, with the first two seasons of ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ already available on Starz Play and Starz On Demand.”