Tuesday, March 17, 2015

BREAKING. A+E Networks UK sets sail, giving History edge by acquiring the premium adventure pirate drama Black Sails filmed in South Africa.

A+E Networks UK, which runs channels like History (DStv 186) on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay TV platform in South Africa and the rest of the continent, announced at its Africa upfront this afternoon at Summer Place in Johannesburg that it has acquired the exclusive rights to the Emmy winning adventure pirate drama series Black Sails which is filmed in South Africa.

Black Sails marks a major acquisition for A+E Networks UK's History in Africa where M-Net (DStv 101) has Game of Thrones and Vikings, FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) has Empire, BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) has Downton Abbey and Discovery Channel (DStv 121) has Klondike.

It signals a dramatic programming improvement for History which announced at the A+E Networks UK upfront that later in 2015 the channel will also show Battle of Waterloo with Sean Bean - a vivid TV special using historical eyewitness accounts and analysis from present-day military experts to give a new view of the events which took place on 18 June 1815.

A+E Networks UK executives told the press on Tuesday that a specific broadcasting date and time isn't yet available. The big acquisition marks the first A+E Networks UK deal with the American media company Starz Worldwide Distribution.

The edgy Black Sails, set in the 18th century during the Golden Age of piracy, recently started production on its third season of the series in November 2014 which is being filmed at Cape Town Film Studios and executive produced by Michael Bay.

Black Sails stars Toby Stephens as Captain Flint, set in a period two decades before the events of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, alongside actors Tom Hopper and Zach McGowan.

The first season of Black Sails has 8 episodes.

"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," says Rachel Job, the director of programming for History at A+E Networks UK.

"Starz Worldwide is delighted to establish a new relationship with A+E Networks UK through Black Sails," says Gene George, the executive vice president for Starz Worldwide Distribution. "History will be an excellent broadcast partner for us in the United Kingdom and Africa with this amazing series."