November 10, 2011 6:33pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Starz Developing Six-Hour Ottoman Empire Series (Exclusive)
Starz is putting its lens on the Ottoman Empire.
The male-skewing cable network and BBC Worldwide Productions are developing Harem, a potential six-hour miniseries exploring the reign of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent and the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe scribe Ann Peacock is near a deal to pen the project, which is based on an original idea by Gina Gershon.
Harem would tell the story of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, the longest-reigning sultan of the Ottoman Empire who reconstructed its legal system and presided over the fleet's annexation of most of the Middle East.
The Starz project would revolve around Roxelana, a beautiful young slave girl whose ambitions knew no bounds and whose marriage to Suleyman kicked off what became known as the "Reign of Women."
The project would mark Peacock's return to television since her Emmy win for A Lesson Before Dying. Repped by CAA, Principato-Young and attorney Don Steele, Peacock is currently working on Universal's Cinderella.
The project would continue the premium cable's love affair with the sword-and-sandals genre. The network has found success with Spartacus and its various incarnations.
Starz and BBC Worldwide Productions declined comment.