The White Queen has a built-in fan base given the Philippa Gregory books upon which it is based were best-sellers in the UK and made it to second in The New York Times best-seller list.
The ten-part drama will debut on the BBC in the UK and then on premium US cable network Starz, whose shows include the Spartacus franchise.
Its sales arm, Starz Worldwide Distribution, will be launching the show internationally at MIPTV with a premiere screening for select buyers.
The series taps into a recent trend for high-end period drama.
Gene George, executive VP, worldwide distribution at Starz says: “There is a lot of epic, historical drama out there at the moment and these shows resonate on a global basis.”
Unlike many macho cable series, The White Queen has a strong female appeal while offering enough action for male viewers.
Set during the War of the Roses in 15th century England, it tells the story of three women caught up in the conflict for the throne: Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville.
The cast includes Max Irons as Edward IV and True Blood’s James Frain as Lord Warwick. Woodville and Neville are played by newcomers Rebecca Ferguson and Faye Marsay.
“This is a premium show for Starz and a lot of international broadcasters in the premium pay space will find this especially compelling,” George says. “But because it is less edgy than, say, Spartacus, it will also have a real value in free-to-air TV.”
The series is being filmed in Belgium and will be available for international broadcasters from September. It is made by Skins’ producer Company Pictures, which is part of All3Media.
All3Media International retains sales rights in the Benelux region.
MIPTV presents Starz with a particular sales opportunity because there are fewer Hollywood studios there than at MIPCOM, giving distributors more time for meaningful buyer meetings.
The show: The White Queen
The Producer: Company Pictures for BBC and Starz
The Distributor: Starz Worldwide Distribution
The broadcaster: BBC (UK), Starz (US)
Concept: Glossy period drama based on Philippa Gregory’s series of novels The Cousins’ War
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