9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Power': Three More Spinoff Series Set at Starz
As promised, Starz is powering forward to expand the world of the signature drama Power.
Ahead of the series finale of the flagship drama on Sunday, the Lionsgate-backed premium cable network announced three more spinoff series in what it is calling the Power Universe. Power Book III: Raising Kanan, Power Book IV: Influence and Power Book V: Force join the previously revealed Power Book II: Ghost and bring the franchise to a total of four upcoming offshoots from Courtney A. Kemp's original.
"In television history, only a select few shows have inspired four consecutive series extensions, launched into active production and development at the same time," Starz's new president and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch said Sunday in a statement. "These new and exciting chapters will continue the journey of some of Power's most controversial characters while featuring a growing ensemble of complex, distinct characters along with the high-octane drama that set Power in a class of its own."
Raising Kanan, the third show, is a prequel story that is set in the '90s and explores the early years of Power character Kanan Stark (played by series executive producer Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson). The character has been a staple through all six seasons, either as recurring, a series regular or, in the final season, a guest star. The fourth drama, Influence, follows Larenz Tate's character, Rashad Tate, in his ruthless pursuit of power. Tate joined Power in season four as a recurring player and was promoted to regular for the final two seasons. The fifth series, Force, revolves around Joseph Sikora's Tommy Egan as he cuts ties and puts New York in his rearview mirror for good.
Shows three, four and five join the second series, Ghost, which boasts a cast that includes Mary J. Blige, Method Man and multiple members of the original cast and picks up where the flagship ends. All four series will be produced by Lionsgate TV, where creator Kemp and her End of Episode banner have an overall deal. Jackson also exec produces through his G-Unit Film and TV shingle. Mark Canton, End of Episode’s Chris Salek and Danielle DeJesus, Shana Stein and Bart Wenrich also exec produce.
Kemp has been hard at work on expanding the world of Power — Starz's most-watched scripted original — since she signed a new, multiyear overall deal with Lionsgate that included development of additional series inspired by the world of the original.
Hirsch — who previously served as Starz's COO — was tapped to serve as former Starz CEO Chris Albrecht's interim replacement nearly a year ago. Hirsch was formally given Albrecht's president and CEO title in September. Under his purview, Starz is more closely aligning itself with parent company Lionsgate. Nearly all of its scripted originals are now produced in-house by Lionsgate TV, with more in the works from the studio including offshoots of its well-known IP like Weeds and Blindspotting. Hirsch's mandate, as he explained to critics in his first Television Critics Association press tour appearance since taking over the network, is to focus on what he called "premium female." He is looking for period dramas that resonate with the upscale and older female viewers who are drawn to the Starz hit Outlander.
The rapid expansion of the Power universe arrives as networks and streamers alike are looking to build on proven hits in a cluttered Peak TV landscape that consists of 530 scripted originals (and growing) where it's incredibly difficult to cut through. AMC, for its part, has three Walking Dead scripted shows; NBC has the Chicago (and Law & Order) franchises; The CW has multiple shows in the Arrow-verse; and HBO has a Game of Thrones prequel in the works, marking the first time the premium cable network will revisit one of its originals.
The quartet of Power spinoffs join the recently ordered comedy Run the World, Vida, American Gods, Outlander, Hightown, Heels and Becoming Elizabeth at Starz.