In the first major move of the Chris Albrecht administration, Starz has acquired domestic TV rights to the new eight-hour miniseries adaptation of Ken Follett's "The Pillars of the Earth."

Set to premiere this summer, this take on Follett's weighty tome comes with a $40 million price tag and a cast that includes Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Matthew Macfadyen, Eddie Redmayne, Hayley Atwell, Alison Pill and Donald Sutherland.
 
"I'm a believer in the power of event television, so ‘'he Pillars of the Earth' is precisely the kind of programming I want to showcase on Starz," Albrecht says in a statement. "With a strong cast, stunning direction, a compelling story based on an international best-selling book and a terrific team of producers, 'The Pillars of the Earth' is set to be one of the must-watch programs this summer."
 
Starz plans on premiering "Pillars of the Earth" in July with a two-hour launch, followed by six one-hour episodes.
 
Originally published in 1989, "Pillars of the Earth" focuses on the building of the cathedral in fictionalized Knightsbridge, looking at architecture, religion and politics in the 12th century. The book has sold more than 14 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 30 languages.
 
"I am delighted with the series of 'The Pillars of the Earth' —- script, cast, direction, everything —- and thrilled that it is going to be shown on Starz," Follett states.
 
The miniseries was directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan and produced by Tony and Ridley Scott's Scott Free Films, with filming taking place on location in Hungary and Austria. 
 
Starz will air "Pillars of the Earth" under its Starz Originals banner. 
 
"Ken Follett's storytelling artistry presents a richness and brilliance we dream about when searching for outstanding properties for event television,"  states Ridley Scott of Scott Free. "The eight-hour television adaptation of his monumental novel 'The Pillars of the Earth'  is everything we could have hoped for and we’re extremely happy that Starz will be presenting 'Pillars' to a U.S. audience."