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Encore Reels In Original Miniseries Pair

Starz Entertainment will push its Encore premium channel into the original scripted series waters next month with a retelling of the classic Moby Dick tale.

The 33 million-subscriber premium service, which currently airs classic blockbuster film titles, will premiere a three-hour version of Moby Dick on Aug. 1 and 2, according to network officials. The on-screen adaption of Herman Melville's novel will star Academy Award winner William Hurt, Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke, and Gillian Anderson.

A second Encore project, The Take -- a miniseries starring Tom Hardy and based on Martina Cole's best-selling crime thriller - will premiere later in the fall, said network officials.

"We think this is one of the major components to continue to grow Encore," Stephan Shelanski, executive vice president of programming for Starz Entertainment told Multichannel News. "Just doing movies alone can be difficult - movies are becoming so prevalent in so many spaces that we wanted to add another element to the Encore lineup, as well as bring some more attention to Encore."

The Encore originals announcement comes on the heels of the Aug. 1 addition of a Spanish-language channel to the seven-channel Encore multiplex of channels. Encore will also rebrand its kids-themed service WAM! and its Mystery channel as Encore Family and Encore Suspense, respectively, and offer its Encore Action and Encore Drama services in high-definition.