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Lionsgate Acquires Rights To Develop Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Epic Best Seller Jerusalem For Television

Lionsgate Acquires Rights To Develop Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Epic Best Seller Jerusalem For Television

Project Marks Lionsgate Television UK’s First Series for Development

London, England May x, 2017 — Lionsgate Television UK today announced that it has acquired rights to develop the number one UK non-fiction bestseller Jerusalem from award winning historian and novelist Simon Sebag Montefiore. The series will be a character-driven, action-filled account of war, betrayal, faith, fanaticism, slaughter, persecution and co-existence in the universal city through the ages. Lionsgate will produce and sell global rights, including the U.S. and UK.

The series is based on Montefiore’s dazzling biography Jerusalem which has received massive critical acclaim, described as “an extraordinary achievement, written with imagination and energy*” and “A fittingly vast and dazzling portrait of Jerusalem, utterly compelling from start to finish **”.

Montefiore will act as consultant and executive producer alongside Lionsgate, using his vast and intimate knowledge of the subject to help shape and guide the series. His global bestsellers, published in over 40 languages, include The Romanovs, Catherine the Great and Potemkin: The Imperial Love Affair (recently optioned by Angelina Jolie), Young Stalin and Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. The deal was negotiated between Lionsgate and Georgina Capel Associates on behalf of Simon Sebag Montefiore.

Steve November, Creative Director UK Television commented, “For our first television development we could not be happier or more excited than to be working with Simon to adapt his extraordinary book. Jerusalem is a compelling narrative which tells the human story of empires, nations, dynasties, politics and religions. This project will bring the story of this unique city and the people who have fought and died for it alive in an epic, dynastic television saga running through multiple seasons.”

 Jerusalem has all the ingredients to become the kind of noisy, high-end event programming that is a Lionsgate signature,” said Lionsgate Television Group Chairman Kevin Beggs. “Under the leadership of Steve November, working in collaboration with our U.S. creative team, this is the perfect property to launch Lionsgate Television UK’s slate of premium series for a global audience.”

The acquisition of Jerusalem for development marks the continued expansion of Lionsgate’s UK television business under CEO Zygi Kamasa. The Company has recently invested in production companies Potboiler Television, Bonafide Films, Primal Media & Kindle Entertainment, and co-financed the hit Channel 4 comedy Damned which is greenlit for a second series.

As one of the largest independent television businesses in the world, Lionsgate’s slate encompasses nearly 90 series on 40 different U.S. networks, including the ground-breaking Orange is the New Black, fan favourite Nashville, Casual, The Royals, Greenleaf, Dear White People and Kicking & Screaming along with eagerly-anticipated new series such as White Famous for Showtime, Step Up for YouTube Red and Candy Crush for CBS.

For further information please contact:

Lorna Mann

* – Credit: John Cornwell, Financial Times

** – Credit: Christopher Hart, Sunday Times

ABOUT LIONSGATELionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) is a vertically integrated next generation global content leader with a diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, premium pay television networks, home entertainment, global distribution and sales, interactive ventures and games and location-based entertainment.

With the acquisition of Starz, Lionsgate adds to its portfolio of businesses the flagship STARZ premium pay network serving 24.3 million subscribers and the STARZ ENCORE platform with 31 million subscribers. The combined company will operate five over-the-top (OTT) streaming services and the STARZ app delivering content directly to consumers.

The Company’s feature film business spans eight labels and includes the blockbuster The Hunger Games franchise, the Now You See Me series, the box office smash La La Land, which won six Academy Awards®, the hit franchise sequel John Wick: Chapter Two, double Oscar winner Hacksaw RidgeTyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween, The Shack, Saban’s Power Rangers, CBS Films/Lionsgate’s Hell or High Water, Roadside Attractions’ critically-acclaimed Manchester by the Sea, Codeblack Films’ breakout concert film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and Pantelion Films’ Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.

One of the largest independent television businesses in the world, Lionsgate’s slate of premium quality series encompasses nearly 90 shows on more than 40 different networks. These include the ground-breaking Orange is the New Black, the fan favorite Nashville, the syndication success The Wendy Williams Show, the hit drama The Royals, the acclaimed Casual, the breakout success Greenleaf, the network reality shows Kicking & Screaming and the eagerly-anticipated Candy Crush, and hit STARZ series including OutlanderBlack SailsSurvivor’s Remorse and Power, the second highest-rated premium pay television series of 2016.

Lionsgate’s home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rates. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of more than 16,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as a foundation for the growth of the Company’s core businesses. The Lionsgate, Summit Entertainment and Starz brands are synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.


Simon Sebag Montefiore is a best-selling, prizewinning writer whose historybooks and novels are now published in 48 languages.   Jerusalem: the Biography was a Number #1 bestseller in the Sunday Times non-fiction list and a bestseller all over the world from the USA to China and chosen by President Bill Clinton as his book of the year.  Montefiore’s  books include The Romanovs (a recent NY Times top ten bestseller), Catherine the Great & Potemkin: The Imperial Love Affair (recently optioned by Angelina Jolie), Young Stalin (which won the LA Times Biography Prize and the UK Costa Prize) and Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar.   All are now being optioned or developed as feature films or returning TV dramas.  He is the author of the acclaimed Moscow Trilogy of novels, Sashenka, One Night in Winter (which won Political Novel of the Year Prize) and Red Sky at Noon. His childrens’ book Royal Rabbits of London has been optioned for animation by 21st Century Fox.   He lives in London.