Transformers director Michael Bay is set to drop anchor as executive producer on the new Starz pirate adventure drama, tentatively titled Black Sails. Created by Jon Steinberg (Jericho, Human Target) and Robert Levine (Touch), the straight-to-series order will consist of an eight episode first season, which is expected to launch in 2014.
Set up as a twenty-year prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic book Treasure Island, Black Sails will follow the adventures of cutthroat corsair Captain Flint and his crew of brutal buccaneers, whose plundering ways have led them to the brink of extinction. Flint’s fight for survival forces him to seek sanctuary on the debauched pirate paradise New Providence Island, a place defined by both its enlightened ideals and stunning brutality. On the journey, Flint will take on a young, fast-talking addition to his crew— one, John Silver.
Said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, in a press release:
“Starz is excited to be working with a visionary like Michael. Along with the high-octane action that is a hallmark of a Michael Bay production, it has the elements that Starz originals are striving to bring to the premium landscape: epic, larger than life, cinematic storytelling. The series is also a property we believe will appeal to the global content marketplace with broadcasters around the world.”
“I’m excited to branch out into television, especially doing a long-form series for STARZ, a network known for supporting cutting-edge programming.”
Joining the Black Sails crew along with Bay will be his Platinum Dunes partners Brad Fuller and Andrew Form (producers on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Nightmare on Elm Street reboots). Sails is set to begin production later this year, shooting at Cape Town Studios in Cape Town, South Africa, with Starz retaining all domestic and international rights to the dramatic series – including television, home video, and digital – similar to their hit series Spartacus and Magic City.
It seems like pirates may be poised to be the new vampires in television’s future. With several other networks dipping their toes into the shark-infested genre – including FX’s forthcoming period drama Port Royal, created by Walking Dead producer Gale Anne Hurd – it’ll be interesting to see how each series manages to clearly define themselves in the growing genre. Black Sails will mark Bay’s first crack at television, having primarily built his career on big-budget blockbusters such as Transformers and Armageddon. While Bay may not be directing any episodes of Black Sails, he will be providing the visual style of the series—so expect more than few things to get blown up.
Check back for more on Black Sails (if the title sticks) as the information floats in.