Starz is delving far into the past once again for its latest project.
Fresh off the success of “The Spanish Princess,” the network is developing another historical drama based around the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine. The project is one of multiple series Starz is working on in conjunction with Lionsgate TV and Colin Callender’s Playground banner as part of what the network is calling its “extraordinary women of history” slate.
The Eleanor of Aquitaine show is based on Alison Weir’s biography “Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life” and its companion novel “Captive Queen.” Starz has acquired the rights to both, and intends to announce additional properties in its aforementioned slate in due time.
“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.”
Eleanor of Aquitaine, born in the 12th century, was Queen consort of England and France and wife to King Henry II of England, whom she famously betrayed. The series will depict Eleanor’s unwavering spirit which 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.
Susie Conklin, whose previous credits include “A Discovery of Witches” and “Cranford,” will pen the Eleanor adaptation and serve as executive producer. Scott Huff and David Stern will oversee development for Playground and serve also exec produce the series.
“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 in a joint statement. “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.”
“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,” added Conklin.
Senior vice president of original programming Karen Bailey is the Starz executive overseeing the show, while Lionsgate Television SVP Jocelyn Sabo is in charge on behalf of the studio.