The series will be produced by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, creators of Homeland.
StarzPlay, the premium international streaming service from Starz, and Sony Pictures Television (SPT) today announced they are developing an 8-part premium scripted series depicting the life and reign of King Juan Carlos I, King Emeritus, who suddenly abdicated in 2014 after a popular 40-year reign. The series will be shepherded by a world-class creative team led by Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning producers Howard Gordon (Homeland, 24) & Alex Gansa (Homeland) who will executive produce the scripted adaptation through their overall deal with Sony Pictures Television. Glenn Geller, president of their production company, will also executive produce.
Gordon & Gansa will develop the series with Spanish production company Weekend Studio, who will produce the series in association with Sony Pictures Television International Production.
XRey is based on the critically-acclaimed smash hit Spanish podcast produced by Alvaro de Cózar and Toni Garrido for The Story Lab and is the latest in a succession of high-profile titles StarzPlay has secured since expanding into local language co-productions in Europe and Mexico last year.
Howard Gordon, Executive Producer, says: “Anyone who knows me knows about my fascination with Spain – its people, its history, and its culture – and few stories in the 20th century have compelled me more than the life of King Juan Carlos I. Beyond the sweeping saga of his family’s exile, his ascension to the throne, and the palace intrigue that followed is an intimate story about a man caught between two worlds, whose personal sacrifice and love of country eventually brought democracy to the Spanish people. I look forward to telling his story over many seasons.”
Superna Kalle, President, International Networks at Starz, says: “Our commitment to creating premium local language content for a global audience is unwavering and this innovative producing partnership with SPT, Weekend Studio, Story Lab and an incredible creative team for ‘XRey’ embodies StarzPlay’s dedication to continuously enrich our offerings and explore new and provocative international stories.”
Nina Lederman, EVP Global Scripted Development and Programming, and Brendan Fitzgerald, SVP International Co-Productions for Sony Pictures Television, say: “SPT offers creators and showrunners the unique opportunity to bring together multiple partners from different countries with a common vision for cultural authenticity regardless of language. XRey is a rich and fascinating project, and a great example of how our European scripted division can work creatively on a global scale, bridging US talent with European writers rooms to deliver the very best in contemporary storytelling.”
Tomas Cimadevilla, CEO and Founder of Weekend Studio, says: “From the beginning we realized that this was an ambitious project which needed an international view and a first-rate showrunner. When we shared the project with Starzplay and they proposed Howard Gordon to us, we knew he was the best option that could exist. It is an honor for us to work with Howard and his team, and along with SPT and Starzplay we will make this story a hit for years to come”.
The podcast series features testimony and insight from prime ministers, leading historians and investigative journalists, and since launching in May 2020 has been one of Spain’s most-streamed podcasts on Spotify.
The concept for the series was created by Lola Guerrero and Tomás Cimadevilla, with Cimadevilla and Juan Domínguez attached to produce for Weekend Studio. The series will be written by Helena Medina (23-F: El día más difícil del rey), Susana López Rubio (La Templanza), and Javier Holgado (La Templanza).
XRey marks the newest high-profile title Starz has secured since announcing its plans to expand into local language co-productions for StarzPlay which currently has several series in production in Europe and Mexico.