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Starlings TV teams with R&B artist Usher for scripted drama set in jazz age

LA-based Starlings Television is developing a scripted series set during the birth of the jazz age, with US artist Usher signing on as an executive producer.


Storyville is created by showrunners Bill Macdonald (Rome, Flying Tigers) and Walt Becker (Clifford the Big Red Dog, Wild Hogs).

The pair will executive produce alongside Starlings TV president Chris Philip and Karine Martin, CEO of Starlings TV’s parent company Starlings Entertainment. Barbara Goicoechea and Bruce Orosz serve as consultants on the project.

Set in New Orleans and rooted in musical history, the project centres around five diverse brothel madams and their fight for control of America’s most notorious redlight district.

Chris Philip

Storyville marks the first time that Usher has executive produced a TV drama. The global superstar said the project is an “epic tale sparked by the origins of the sound that inspired my career.”

Philip added: “[Usher’s] invaluable creative and musical contributions to Storyville fulfil our vision of contrasting the gritty, sometimes brutal sides of New Orleans life with it giving birth to a beautiful, diverse and defining new artform.”

Starlings TV’s production slate this year includes: conspiracy thriller drama Departure for Peacock and Canadian network Global; and young-adult sci-fi action series Pandora for The CW. Also in the works are: Sherlock’s Daughter, from executive producer and showrunner James Duff and creator/writer Brendan Foley; and wildlife crime thriller Shadowland with Athena Pictures. On the latter series, Viaplay has nabbed multi-territory pre-sale rights in the Nordics, Baltics, Poland and the Netherlands.


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