US network Starz has commissioned The Serpent Queen, an adaptation of Leonie Frieda’s book Catherine De Medici: Renaissance Queen Of France.
The eight-part scripted series is being produced by Lionsgate Television and 3 Arts Entertainment, and written by Justin Haythe, who exec produces alongside Francis Lawrence and Erwin Stoff, while Stacie Passon is attached to direct several episodes, including the premiere.
Based on thousands of private letters, Frieda’s original book tells the story of the 16th century Italian noblewoman who married into the French court as an orphaned teenager.
Expected to bring a fortune in dowry and produce many heirs, Catherine discovered that her husband is in love with an older woman, her dowry is unpaid and she’s unable to conceive. Through sheer intelligence and determination, she manages to keep her marriage alive and goes on to rule France for 50 years.
“The Serpent Queen may be the most cunning account of one of the most influential women ever to wear a crown that Starz has told,” said Christina Davis, president of original programming for Starz. “We are thrilled to be working with such an incredibly talented team who will give this series a modern voice among a sensational historical backdrop.”