Why John Wick’s prequel The Continental jumped from Starz to Peacock

Starz CEO Jeff Hirsh said the prequel series will be more valuable to shareholders as a result of the sale “7-8x.”

In August, Starz lost The Continental, the upcoming prequel series based on the John Wick action franchise. It will go to Peacock instead – although the premium cable network and franchise in Lionsgate share the same parent company. At Tuesday’s RBC media conference, Starz CEO Jeff Hirsh shed some light on Tuesday.

Hirsh said the show “really doesn’t align with our two core demos,” which include an African-American audience in love with the “Power” universe and women who helped make “Outlander” a hit close. And while he said The Continental could have been “a huge hit” for Starz, Lionsgate is trying to part ways with Starz and prove that both sides of the business can get bang for their buck.

“We felt that in terms of maximizing shareholder value, it would probably be better for the organization if they took it out and sold it somewhere other than Starz,” Hirsh said. “I think at the end of the day, when the calculus is sorted out, it’s probably 7-8x better for shareholders that we did that than it is at Starz.” I think it would have been a great success for us. But I think all of us who work together at Lionsgate try to maximize shareholder value. So that was the right decision. But that’s how we work together today. And I think we will work together as we move forward as a separate company.”

“The Continental,” Hirsh said, is a good example of Lionsgate studios and Starz working well together. However, the reality, he acknowledged, is that in order to continue to compete and generate the most value, Starz needs to “get bigger or become part of something bigger and not stand still.”

To that end, Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns updated the RBC conference on the timeline for the studio and Starz split. He said the media company plans to file a deal by the end of March and complete the split by the end of the second fiscal quarter of 2023 — late next September. A source also stated that Lionsgate is still in productive talks about finding a buyer for either the studio or Starz.

Hirsh highlighted the value of Lionsgate’s 17,000-title library, saying there is no comparable independent library on the market other than Sony.

“The studio is going to be in really good shape regarding this real arms dealer, and they’re going to have a lot of interest on Starz’s part,” he said. “I think we either need to grow bigger or become part of something bigger. I think that will happen too. Do I believe that we can continue to be successful in the size we are today? Absolutely. I think our focus strategy and my team will continue to grow in the business, but it’s a tough environment out there.”

“The Continental” will start in 2023 as a three-part event series on Peacock and internationally on Amazon Prime Video. Set in 1975, the series stars Colin Woodell, who plays Ian McShane’s character from the “John Wick” films, and explores the story of how he fought to take control of the legendary hotel that would later become home to Assassins and criminals from around the world should be globe.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/11/john-wick-continental-starz-peacock-1234782787/ Why John Wick’s prequel The Continental jumped from Starz to Peacock

Lindsay Lowe

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