'Maria Theresa,' Austria's Answer to 'The Crown,' Sells Wide

'Maria Theresa' Still
Beta Film

'Maria Theresa' TV series

Walter's Choice nabs U.S. rights to the Austrian limited series, with Beta Film also closing deals in Italy, France, and Russia. 

Walter's Choice has taken U.S. streaming rights to Maria Theresa, a The Crown-style period epic about the first, and only, female ruler of the Habsburg Empire. 

Sister platform Walter’s Presents acquired rights in the U.K. and New Zealand for the eight-hour miniseries with the original German title Maria Theresia, and sales group Beta Film also closed deals with French-German channel arte, with RAI for Italy, Russia’s Okko.TV and with RTP in Portugal.

Marie-Luise Stockinger and Stefanie Reinsperger play Maria Theresa in the series at various stages in her epic, 40-year reign. The Habsburg leader, born 1717, took over after her father, Emperor Charles VI, died in 1740, and ruled until her own death in 1780. Vojtech Kotek (Burning Bush) and Johannes Krisch (Revanche) co-star in the series. Robert Dornhelm, an Emmy nominee for Anne Frank: The Whole Story (2001), directed. 

Maria Theresa has been a ratings hit across what used to be the Habsburg Empire, with strong performances on Austria’s public broadcaster ORF and on public channels in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Critics have compared the period epic to Netflix's The Crown, which traces the history of the English monarchy under Queen Elizabeth II. Unlike the Queen, however, Maria Theresa ascended the throne as an absolute monarch in complete command of every aspect of her empire. She commanded troops in the Seven Years' War with Prussia and transformed the moribund Habsburg kingdom into a modern state with, for its time, enlightened institutions. 

Maya Production produced Maria Theresa in association with MR Film and Beta Film for European public broadcasters Czech TV, ORF, RTVS and MTVA.

A new, two-hour episode of the series is in production.