StarzPlay Nets Hulu Drama ‘The Act’ for Europe (EXCLUSIVE)

StarzPlay is adding some toxic motherly love to its lineup in the shape of Hulu drama “The Act,” which it has picked up for its services in Germany, Spain, and the U.K.

The show is based on Michelle Dean’s widely read 2016 BuzzFeed article about a toxic mother-daughter relationship. Academy Award-winner Patricia Arquette plays overbearing mother Dee Dee Blanchard, and Joey King her daughter, Gypsy. The series follows Dee Dee as she manipulates Gypsy and the outside world into believing her daughter is sick. Gypsy, in turn, harbors murderous intentions towards her mother. Chloë Sevigny and AnnaSophia Robb also star.

StarzPlay has already launched the show on its service in Canada, where it is its top-ranked program. In Canada it plays day-and-date with the U.S., but in Europe StarzPlay will drop all of the episodes at once. Starz pre-bought the series for its streaming service early in the production process, the first time it has acquired a show so early on.

“When the producers came and told us this was the most widely read BuzzFeed article ever and this could resonate globally, we took some time to do some analytics to see how much the story resonated elsewhere in the world,” Superna Kalle, EVP of international digital networks at Starz, told Variety. “It was on Hulu so we knew it would be premium and major, and it was just a fascinating story, so we took a risk, and it turned out really well.”

Starz has scooped exclusive rights to the series in the European territories for its streaming service. In the U.K., StarzPlay service is available on Prime Video Channels and Virgin Media, in Germany via Prime Video Channels, and in Spain via Vodafone and Orange TV.

Kalle said that the top shows on StarzPlay include “Power,” and there is a crossover audience for that series and “The Act.” StarzPlay is acquiring select shows to complement the U.S. pipeline of Starz programming, which now feeds directly onto the StarzPlay service in international markets.

“Within the territories we have announced, which are U.K. Germany, Spain, France, and Italy, the goal is to have more distributors – beyond that we’re going to be announcing [new territories] shortly,” Kalle said of how the StarzPlay service will develop internationally.

Universal Content Productions produced “The Act,” which Nick Antosca (“Channel Zero”) and Michelle Dean co-created and executive produced. Greg Shephard and Britton Rizzio are also exec producers.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Ballers HBO

    'Ballers' to End After Season 5 on HBO

    “Ballers” is coming to an end after five seasons on HBO. Star and executive producer Dwayne Johnson confirmed the news via an emotional Instagram video. “My heart is full of gratitude to all of you for rocking with us every season. You made us HBO’s highest rated comedy for years and most importantly, you helped [...]

  • Sublime Primetime

    How Emmy-Nominated Writers’ Rooms Keep Politics in Mind

    In a world filled with elections, social movements and national tragedies, how open should the doors of a writers’ room actually be? For some of this year’s Emmy-nominated shows, those doors are wide open. Before the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sept. 22, the Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild Foundation, [...]

  • Disney Villains Series 'Book of Enchantment'

    'Book of Enchantment' Series Based on Iconic Disney Villains Shelved at Disney Plus

    Disney Plus has decided to not move forward with “Book of Enchantment,” a series based on some of Disney’s most iconic villains, Variety has learned from sources. The news comes the day before Disney is set to unveil its streaming service at the biannual D23 convention in Anaheim. The prospective project was based on the [...]


    Brenda Blethyn to Star in New ITV Sitcom 'Kate and Kolo'

    Oscar-nominated Brenda Blethyn is set to star in the new sitcom “Kate and Kolo” for ITV, the U.K. broadcaster announced at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Blethyn takes on the title role of Kate in the comedy alongside theater and film actor Jimmy Akingbola as Kolo. Blethyn is a popular star with ITV audiences after having [...]

  • Sean Spicer Emmys

    Sean Spicer's Casting Explained? Red States Love 'Dancing With the Stars'

    ABC faced backlash this week after casting former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on “Dancing with the Stars.” But that outrage might actually spice up the dancing competition’s dwindling ratings — particularly in Trump Country. “Dancing with the Stars” has faced a relatively alarming decline in ratings over the past two cycles, falling 32% [...]

  • Peppa Pig

    Hasbro Acquires Entertainment One in $4 Billion All-Cash Deal

    Toymaker Hasbro is acquiring studio Entertainment One in an all-cash transaction valued at $4 billion, bringing My Little Pony and Nerf under the same umbrella as “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks” and furthering Hasbro’s growth goals in the infant and preschool categories. Hasbro aims to expand its operations in film and TV. Entertainment One’s production [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content