Starz chief Chris Albrecht was vague about the fate of “Magic City,” although he sounded like there’s something up his sleeve. “We have a few surprises left in the last 3 episodes,” he said, seeming to hint that something was coming. A bit later he said “in about six months you’ll have your answer.” Starz likes to give a series two seasons “and then we evaluate it…that’s what we’re doing with Magic City,” he told TCA critics.

There’s no doubt surrounding Kelsey Grammer vehicle “Boss,” which was killed after two seasons. “No,” Albrecht retorted quickly to a query about the possibility of a film to bring closure to Boss. The veteran Albrecht admitted he learned from Boss, though. “I keep learning that in television, the showrunner is God,” he said. Boss creator Farhad Safinia took “a step back” from the series after season II, Albrecht said, and “I didn’t really feel like we had a way to take the show after season two and propel it forward, nor did I see a groundswell.” Once you commit to a third season, you’re really committed…to be doing [seasons] 4 and 5. I didn’t see that in Boss.” Albrecht also emphasized Starz is looking to augment its slate of mostly costume dramas with contemporary series as well as shows skewed toward women, who are “underserved” by the premium services. Starz hopes to present 50 hours of original programming this year, he said. Later in the session, Albrecht announced pirate adventure “Black Sails” (Jan ’14) and the Oct ’13 premiere of 5-part mini “Dancing on the Edge,” starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jacqueline Bisset and John Goodman.

Albrecht’s point about serving women will be served by series “The White Queen” (Aug 10), which looks at England’s War of the Roses from the perspectives of three women—Elizabeth Woodville (later Queen Elizabeth I), Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville—who were vying for power during that turbulent period. Based on the novel by Philippa Gregory, the series shines a light on women who’ve had little or nothing written about them, Gregory said. “Their husbands, their [male] enemies…yes, but these women, nothing,” Gregory added. And while the series concentrates on political intrigue, there’s a touch of magic and other worldness. “The medieval world was superstitious…there was no science or concept of disease…much was ascribed to” spirits and magic, Gregory said. “I wanted to show that,” she said.

 
 
 

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