More than five months before its series premiere, Starz has granted an early second season renewal to pirate drama Black Sails.
The Michael Bay-produced drama will premiere in January, with production on a second season of 10 episodes resuming in November 2013, the premium cable network announced Friday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.
Launching in 2014, the eight-episode first season follows Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) and his men two years before the story of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island takes place. Described as a brilliant and feared pirate captain, Flint takes on a fast-talking addition to his crew, John Silver (Luke Arnold). They fight for the survival of New Providence Island, an infamous criminal haven teeming with pirates, prostitutes, thieves and fortune seekers, a place defined by ideals and brutality.
The series was created by Jonathan Steinberg (Jericho) and season two executive producer Robert Levine (Touch).The series had a major presence at San Diego Comic-Con. The network used the pop culture confab to screen the pilot at a fan-only event outside of the convention center. The series also had a massive pirate ship on the convention floor.
"Michael Bay, Jon Steinberg and their teams delivered a spectacular first season of Black Sails and we are incredibly proud of everyone's work," Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said. "Based on the strong fan response to the preview screening at last week's Comic-Con, we felt an early order for a second season would allow the writers, cast and crew enough time and space to continue crafting such unique and epic storytelling."
For Starz, the early renewal marks a sign of confidence in the series, which films on elaborate sets in South Africa. The network previously granted an early second season to shows including Boss before its series premiere.
The series joins a roster that includes Ron Moore's Outlander, Fortitude and the second season of DaVinci's Demons. The network is in development on a slew of original dramas including pilot Power, from Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, as the network looks to ramp up its scripted programming by 50 percent in 2014.