TCA: Starz Orders 'Marco Polo' Series From Weinsteins, Ben Silverman

Chris Albrecht - PR portrait - 2011

The network best known for its broad "Spartacus" franchise is set to launch a scripted series centered on the 13th century explorer.

Starz is setting sail with Marco Polo.

The premium cable network has joined forces with The Weinstein Company and IAC's Electus to launch the scripted series centered on the 13th century explorer, created, written and executive produced by Young Guns' John Fusco.

Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who originally developed the idea, along with Electus' Ben Silverman, will join Fusco as EPs on the project, which will chronicle the early adventurer's early years in the court of Kublai Khan. Acting as the ruler's spy, ambassador and explorer, Marco will trek across the Far East and returns with tales of his journeys.

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The drama, set to begin production next year, will rely heavily on themes of political betrayal, forbidden relationships and martial arts. It will join such projects as Spartacus, Boss and upcoming Magic City on Starz' schedule.

Marco Polo has captivated imaginations for centuries, and John’s script brings this fantastical story to life. In addition to a remarkable story, we share a joint creative vision with our partners at The Weinstein Company and Electus to deliver a larger than life cinematic adventure for audiences in the United States and around the world,” said Starz chief executive Chris Albrecht in a statement.

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Starz Entertainment will own the exclusive license to the U.S. premium pay TV rights and certain digital rights to the series for its flagship network, while Starz's Anchor Bay arm will distribute the project in the home video arena. The Weinstein Company and Electus’ global distribution arm will control all remaining rights.

Fusco, whose other credits include Hidalgo and Thunderheart, Spirit: Stallion of the CimarronK, is repped by UTA and Anonymous Content.