Starz Partners with BBC on Original Series

The multi-year deal calls for the British producer behind such programs including 'Doctor Who' and 'Little Dorrit' to co-produce drama series for the pay-cabler.

Starz and BBC have entered into a multi-year partnership to develop, produce and distribute original drama series, the companies announced Monday.

The deal calls for BBC Worldwide Productions to produce the series in partnership with Starz’s original production team. Titles have yet to be announced, but BBC is behind such series as Doctor Who, Torchwood, Little Dorrit, Bleak House, Girl in a Café and State of Play.

Once the domain of theatrical films, pay cable has increasingly turned to original series to forge brand identity. Starz has ramped up in that arena in the last few years with the successful sword and sandal epic Spartacus and the upcoming Kelsey Grammer-headlined political drama Boss. And the BBC partnership would seem to provide crucial financial support to continue that effort. The BBC Worldwide Productions drama Torchwood: Miracle Day is currently in its first season on Starz.

"When I came to Starz, we determined that forging strong international partnerships would play center stage in financing our ramp-up of dynamic original programming,” Chris Albrecht, chairman and CEO of Starz, said in a statement. "This exciting partnership with BBC Worldwide Productions is a major step in that direction.”

The series will be distributed by Starz in the United States and Canada, while BBC Worldwide will distribute the series internationally.