Channel 4 picks up 'Pillars of the Earth'

Takes U.K. broadcast rights to the 8-hour miniseries

BERLIN -- Channel 4 has picked up U.K. broadcast rights to the 8-hour miniseries "The Pillars of the Earth," the adaptation of Ken Follett's epic bestseller, from Germany's Tandem Communication.

The U.K. was one of the few major territories still unsold for "Pillars," which has already been picked up by pay player Starz Entertainment in the U.S., Pro7 in Germany, CBC in Canada and Hungary's TV2 among others.

Starz will premiere the series this summer. Channel 4 is set to follow later in the year.

"Pillars" is a story of the struggle of good vs. evil set against the backdrop of the building of a cathedral in 12th century England. Directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan ("Heroes"), the $40 million mini features Ian McShane, Matthew Macfadyen, Rufus Sewell, Eddie Redmayne, Hayley Atwell and Donald Sutherland among its huge cast.

"I might be prejudiced, but finding the right network for 'Pillars' in the U.K. was very important for me," Ken Follett said in a statement announcing the Channel 4 deal. "Channel 4's profile and image is a perfect fit for a story with such broad appeal."

Tandem produced "Pillars" together with Canadian group Muse Entertainment and in association with Ridley and Tony Scott's Scott Free Films.

Starz has already signed up for U.S. rights to "World Without End," based on Follett's sequel to "Pillars," which Tandem will again produce and sell internationally.