Starz Network’s Black Sails, a critically acclaimed swashbuckling pirate drama, was renewed for a fourth and final 10-episode season to be aired in 2017. The series is a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel Treasure Island. According to series co-creator and executive producer Jonathan E. Steinberg, ending with the fourth season will allow for the most natural transition into the events of the book. Speaking with Deadline Hollywood last Tuesday, he stated: “While it was a difficult decision for us to make this season our last, we simply couldn’t imagine anything beyond it that would make for a better ending to the story nor a more natural handoff to Treasure Island. We’d like to thank Chris, Carmi and everyone at Starz for all their faith and support, and to our astounding cast and crew for joining us on this ride.” Speaking about Starz Network’s treatment of the cast and crew during the series’ run, Steinberg added: “It’s a rare privilege in television to be given the kind of creative freedom we’ve enjoyed on this show over the last four years.”
Black Sails has been one of Starz’s most critically acclaimed shows ever, and currently holds an impressive “82% Fresh” rating from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The series also has two Emmy wins to its name, in Outstanding Sound Design for a series and Outstanding Special and Visual Effects in a Supporting Role for a series, both won at the 2014 Primetime Emmys. It is an indisputable fact that Black Sails, along with network sister shows Outlander and Power, have raised the Starz profile dramatically over the past three years. In fact, Starz is so confident in their content that the network will be moving their entire original programming slate to Sunday nights. The network currently airs original content on Saturdays, and this programming change will bring Starz shows head-to-head with the likes of HBO and Showtime in the ratings game.
Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, said he believes the move to Sunday is worth it to be apart of the Sunday night conversation. Even though ratings may fall a bit when competing with shows like Game Of Thrones and The Walking Dead, the sacrifice is well worth it to the network. Competing in the cable big-leagues will raise the prestige of the network and put its programming in a favorable and widely watched place for award contention.
Black Sails was created by Robert Levine and Jonathan E. Steinberg, and stars Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens, and Hannah New. Season Four is anticipated to premiere on Starz in January of 2017.