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A+E Networks® UK Picks Up Starz Original Drama Series ‘Black Sails’

LONDON/JOHANNESBURG, 17th March 2015: A+E Networks® UK has acquired the exclusive linear TV rights for the multi Emmy®-award winning epic STARZ Original adventure-drama series, Black Sails, for HISTORY® in the UK and Africa. The acquisition marks the first A+E Networks UK deal with US media company Starz Worldwide Distribution.

Black Sails, which was first created by and aired on premium cable network STARZ in the US, takes place twenty years prior to the international bestselling 1883 novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. The first season (8x60) of the series is set in the lawless society and former British colony of New Providence Island, which is controlled by the most notorious pirate captains in history.

The series, which has a strong cast of UK actors featuring Toby Stephens (Die Another Day) in the lead role as Captain Flint, will premiere on HISTORY in the summer. Black Sails is created by Jonathan E. Steinberg (Jericho, Human Target) and Robert Levine (Touch) and executive produced by acclaimed feature film director/producer Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor) and his Platinum Dunes partners Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, producers of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Purge. Chris Symes and Dan Shotz also serve as executive producers.

Announcing the acquisition, Rachel Job, director of programming for HISTORY at A+E Networks UK, said: “Black Sails is a thrilling drama with a treasure trove of colourful characters that really brings to life a remarkable and provocative period of history. Following the huge success of Vikings, we are really pleased to bring viewers another premium drama to HISTORY.”

Black Sails is set in the eighteenth century during The Golden Age of Piracy and showcases the darker side of pirate life. Joining Toby Stephens is a host of British acting talent including Hannah New (El Tiempo Entre Costuras) , Tom Hopper (Merlin), and Clara Paget (One Day) as well as Australians Luke Arnold (Never Tear Us Apart: The Untold Story of INXS) and Toby Schmitz (Griff the Invisible), U.S. star Zach McGowan (Shameless), and Canadian Jessica Parker Kennedy (90210). The third season began filming in November 2014 in South Africa.

Gene George, executive VP for Starz Worldwide Distribution added: "Starz Worldwide Distribution is delighted to establish a new relationship with A+E Networks UK through Black Sails. HISTORY will be an excellent broadcaster partner for us in the UK and Africa with this amazing series.”

This latest acquisition follows the success of the epic drama Vikings on HISTORY in the UK. In 2014 the first series of Vikings was the channel’s highest ever rating series, drawing in a total audience reach of 2.1 million viewers.