Starz kicks off Reign of Women with new sword-and-sandal project ‘Harem’

Spurred on by the success of their popular series “Spartacus” (which was recently picked up for a third season even prior to the January premiere of “Spartacus: Vengeance”), Starz is now developing a female spin on the “sword-and-sandal” concept with “Harem”, a potential six-hour miniseries based on Haseki Hurrem Sultan (also known as “Roxelana”), wife of the legendary Ottoman Empire Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. 

The series will focus on Hurrem, who went from being a harem girl to becoming the esteemed and politically ambitious wife of the Sultan, thereby kicking off a period known as the “Reign (or Sultanate) of Women”, in which the women making up the Imperial Harem of the Ottoman Empire exerted an unprecedented amount of political influence.

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” screenwriter Ann Peacock is in negotiations to pen the series, which is based on an original idea by actress Gina Gershon.

The series marks the second project now being developed as part of Starz’s co-production deal with BBC Worldwide Productions, with David S. Goyer’s Leonardo Da Vinci drama “Da Vinci’s Demons” being the first (that project was picked up to series by the network last month). The story was broken by The Hollywood Reporter.

Sounds like an intriguing concept, though it’ll be interesting to see how they manage to squeeze the entire fascinating story into only six hours. What do you think of the news?