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Starz Makes Call on 'Girlfriend Experience' Series

Starz has ordered 13 half-hour episodes of The Girlfriend Experience, based on the 2009 film by Steven Soderbergh.

The premium programmer didn't announce a premiere date for the anthology series, trading on high-end prostitutes, which will be executive-produced by Soderbergh and Philip Fleishman. Fellow executive producers Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz will serve as writers and directors for the series.

The Girlfriend Experience is produced by Transactional Pictures, which licensed the rights from the owner of the original feature film, Magnolia Pictures. Starz will retain all domestic multiplatform pay TV rights and serve as the worldwide distributor of all other rights to the series.

 “We are all such fans of the movie that the idea of exploring this world through many different characters, voices and points of view was especially intriguing,” said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht. “Steven and Philip’s approach to the format is unique and not something seen on the entertainment landscape today. Working with Steven is always a thrill, and we are excited to break the mold with this project yet again.” 

The show reunites Albrecht and Soderbergh, who worked on an improv comedy about the nation's capital, that ran for one season on HBO in 2003.

“We’re in an exciting period of auteur-driven television right now,” said Soderbergh. “When Philip floated the idea of a Girlfriend Experience-inspired television show, I thought: ‘let’s make it a different woman in a different city, let’s pair two independent writer/directors, one male and one female, and let them do the whole thing.’ I’ve known Lodge for 20 years and I became a fan of Amy’s when I saw her first feature last summer.  We went to Chris Albrecht because he and I have been trying to find something to do together since we did K Street 11 years ago. He responded without hesitation to both the idea of the show and the approach.”

Directed by Soderbergh and written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, the theatrical drew attention as it featured then porn star, Sasha Gray, who has subsequently crossed over to acting’s mainstream, including an arc on HBO’s Hollywood buddy series, Entourage, in which she played herself as a love interest of Vinny Chase (Adrien Grenier).