Starz Orders ‘The Serpent Queen’ Based on Catherine de Medici

Starz greenlit “The Serpent Queen,” telling the dark legend of Catherine de Medici from writer and executive producer Justin Haythe. The new drama is based on the book CATHERINE de MEDICI: Renaissance Queen of France by Leonie Frieda and the series will be executive produced by Francis Lawrence and Erwin Stoff.

Stacie Passon will direct multiple episodes of the series, including the premiere episode, and the eight-episode series is produced for Starz by Lionsgate Television and 3 Arts Entertainment.

“‘The Serpent Queen’ may be the most cunning account of one of the most influential women ever to wear a crown that Starz has told,” said Christina Davis, President of Original Programming for Starz. “We are thrilled to be working with such an incredibly talented team who will give this series a modern voice among a sensational historical backdrop.”

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The network’s description reads, “Considered an immigrant, common and plain, Catherine de Medici is married into the 16th-century French court as an orphaned teenager expected to bring a fortune in dowry and produce many heirs, only to discover that her husband is in love with an older woman, her dowry is unpaid and she’s unable to concieve. Yet, only with her intelligence and determination, she manages to keep her marriage alive and masters the bloodsport that is the monarchy better than anyone else, ruling France for 50 years.”

Based on thousands of private letters, CATHERINE DE MEDICI: Renaissance Queen of France from author Leonie Frieda was a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic and was translated into eight languages. If you like to read the original work before seeing the adaptation, you can find the novel right here on Amazon.

“Writing Catherine and her story has been truly exciting as she is a very complex leading character who becomes a skilled ruler, battling extraordinary political and personal odds throughout her reign,” said Haythe. “She is a Queen who defies convention, as she relies upon her intellect, her unusual entourage and a ready supply of black magic inspiring, centuries later, the Evil Queen of fairy tales.”

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Senior Vice President of Original Programming Kathryn Tyus-Adair is the executive overseeing “The Serpent Queen” on behalf of Starz. Courtney Mock is overseeing the series on behalf of Lionsgate.

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