Television Business International

Starz pushes into unscripted originals

Chris-Albrecht_2016US premium cable channel Starz has commissioned its first unscripted programmes.

The Lionsgate-owned network has ordered four docuseries, which focus on criminal justice, youth sports, fashion and the legacy of hip-hop.

To this point, Starz’s original strategy has been focused on dramas such as Power, Outlander and Black Sails and comedies including Survivor’s Remorse.

Rival premium pay TV networks HBO and Showtime have been working successfully in the space for a number of years already, and Starz CEO Chris Albrecht has been keen to diversify his network’s offer in a similar way.

“Unique voices and storytelling are the hallmarks of the Starz programming strategy, and we are proud to announce our investment in these filmmakers and the stories they passionately want to tell,” he said in a statement. “With each project, we will explore and better understand our collective cultural history.”

The shows are:

  • Wrong Man, a six-part series from Third Eye Motion Picture Company, Elects and RadicalMedia looking at criminal investigations that led to convictions of three people that maintain their innocence.
  • Warriors of Liberty City, a SpringHill Entertainment and Shed Media US series from showrunner Evan Rosenfeld about a youth sport programme in a crime-ridden Miami neighbourhood that’s considered American football’s ‘largest football factory’.
  • In Fashion is an anthology series from Boardwalk Pictures and Rogue Atlas Productions in association with Lionsgate following top fashion designers.
  • The Field explores hip-hop and the socio-political culture of a different city in each episode, with Worldstar Hip Hop and Mass Appeal coproducing.

Vice president of original programming Patrick McDonald is overseeing all four series for Starz, which takes all global and home entertainment rights to the shows.