Starz Entertainment has acquired U.S. television rights to the next installment of the BBC's audience sensation Torchwood, developed and produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. Starz will debut the 10-episode series exclusively in the U.S., and BBC One will debut it in the U.K., both in summer, 2011. This is a co-production between Starz, BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Worldwide, and BBC Worldwide will distribute the show outside the U.S. The deal was jointly announced today by Starz, LLC President and CEO Chris Albrecht and BBC Worldwide Productions EVP Jane Tranter.
The stars of the previous versions of Torchwood, notably John Barrowman (Capt. Jack Harkness) and Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), will return for the new version. Additional key cast, reflecting the more international scope of the series, will be announced soon.
Torchwood is a drama that puts extraterrestrial threats into a very real world, and asks how humanity deals with the danger - while fighting mankind's darkest instincts. The series' previous three seasons aired on BBC America in the U.S. and garnered record-breaking ratings for the network. Created by visionary writer/producer Russell T. Davies, Torchwood has to date been located primarily in Cardiff, Wales. The new series will allow Davies and his writing team to tell a more explosive and global story, one that takes advantage of the unlimited narrative opportunities of a premium television service like Starz.
Davies and BBC Worldwide Productions' SVP Scripted Julie Gardner return as executive producers, with Davies also serving as show-runner for the new Torchwood.
"We're committed to programming exceptional television that is entertaining, imaginative and provides a premium TV experience, and by any measure the new concept for Torchwood fits that mandate," Starz, LLC, President and CEO Chris Albrecht said. "I've been part of successful partnerships with Jane Tranter and the BBC previously, and I'm very much looking forward to working with them again."
"Torchwood has attracted remarkable attention and loyalty in both the UK and U.S., and in this new partnership with Starz, the next chapter will not only reward our current fans, but also introduce new viewers to the most impressive installment yet," said Jane Tranter, EVP, BBC Worldwide Productions. "Chris Albrecht and his team are committed to delivering quality premium programming to their subscribers, also a core attribute of the BBC, and we are excited to be working with them as the Torchwood adventure continues."
"Russell, Jane and Julie came to us with a compelling vision for the evolution of the Torchwood saga that really takes the story into whole new areas," added Carmi Zlotnik, Managing Director of Starz Media - the production and development division of Starz. "The compelling story and characters this trio created provide a strong template for driving this narrative in exciting ways."
Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning said: "We have a long history of working with many U.S. networks, but it is incredibly exciting to be working with Starz for the first time, as well as to be reunited with the best of British in Russell, Jane and Julie. Torchwood will burst back onto the screen with a shocking and moving story with global stakes and locations that will make it feel bigger and bolder than ever."
Torchwood is the latest piece of notable programming from Starz. It follows on the heels of the recently concluded first season of the epic Spartacus: Blood and Sand, this summer's highly anticipated event series The Pillars of the Earth, based on author Ken Follett's international bestseller, and the recently announced series Camelot, which Starz is co-producing with GK-TV and will air early in 2011.
Torchwood originally debuted in the UK on BBC One in 2006. All five episodes of Torchwood: Children of Earth reached the Top 10 list in TV Episodes across the entire iTunes TV Store, with episode 1 of the series reaching the top spot the week of launch in August, 2009.