12:29pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Starz Developing Ballet Drama From Lawrence Bender, 'Breaking Bad' EP
Starz is shifting its sights to the female demographic.
The cable network home to male-oriented fare is departing from its tried-and-true and developing a female-driven "gritty" ballet drama from Lawrence Bender (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill) and Breaking Bad co-executive producer Moira Walley-Beckett.
The untitled entry centers on a young female ballet dancer named Claire with a troubled past who joins a ballet company in New York. The project, which is described as dark and gritty, will explore the dysfunctional underbelly of the ballet world.
Oscar nominee Bender (Inglourious Basterds, Good Will Hunting) and Kevin Brown (Roswell) will produce for Starz alongside Walley-Beckett, who will pen the script. The trio all have ties to the ballet world, with Bender and Walley-Beckett both former dancers, and Brown's family comprising dancers and serving as the basis for the Oscar-nominated feature The Turning Point. Starz will retain domestic and international multiplatform rights, including TV, home entertainment and digital.
The ballet drama becomes the latest project in the premium cable network's development pipeline as it looks to bulk up original scripted programming now that it is a stand-alone company. Starz, which recently canceled Kelsey Grammer's Boss after two seasons, also is prepping a 1960s crime drama from The Departed's William Monahan; sci-fi action thriller Incursion from Spartacus' Steven S. DeKnight; a potential Spartacus spinoff; and Turf, a drama about the birth of hip-hop from Patrick Macmanus, among others.
Starz is scheduled to launch at least four scripted series this year, including the final season of Spartacus, season two of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Magic City, freshman period drama Da Vinci's Demons and new limited series The White Queen with Janet McTeer.
The entry marks a noted departure from Starz's male-leaning fare, including Spartacus and the upcoming DaVinci's Demons as the network looks to broaden its audience.