Nearly eight years into its aggressive push into original programming, pay cable and OTT outlet Starz is now investing in unscripted programming, announcing the move Friday with a slate of four new series in the space.
"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," said Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht. "With each project, we will explore and better understand our collective cultural history.”
It appears that the network will be taking a broad strategy with its unscripted offerings. The initial orders run the gamut from prestige fare — the six-part Wrong Man is a deep dive into the disturbing rates of wrongful imprisonment in America — to pop culture bait like The Field, which explores the present and past of hip-hop.
Starz has had considerable success in the scripted space, most notably with high-concept dramas Power, Outlander and American Gods. While many of Its comedies have been critically hailed, they have proven to be tougher sells with viewers.
This new push into unscripted is being led by originals vp Patrick McDonald. Starz's unscripted overture comes at a time when the basic cable space remains saturated with reality, broadcast television is leaning on legacy franchises and streamers (read: Netflix) are getting incredibly aggressive in the wide, loosely defined genre.
A full rundown of Starz's new series follows:
• Wrong Man: Profiling investigations that led to the conviction of three people who claim their innocence, from Third Eye Motion Picture Company, Electus and RadicalMedia.
• Warriors of Liberty City: Showrunner Evan Rosenfeld's exploration of Liberty City, a crime-ridden neighborhood in Miami, Florida, that produces an inordinate number of NFL players who come up from its youth football program. Executive produced by LeBron James and Maverick Carter's SpringHill Entertainment and Warner Bros.' Shed Media.
• In Fashion: An hourlong anthology profiling some of the biggest fashion designers of the day. It hails from Chef's Table producer Andrew Fried, fashion notable Kelly Cutrone and Eli Frankel. Boardwalk Pictures and Rogue Atlas Productions are producing in association with Lionsgate.
• The Field: Another anthology, it will examine different cities through the voices of its major hip-hop players, past and present. The docuseries is spearheaded by Worldstar Hip Hop and Mass Appeal.