TV/film producer Gale Anne Hurd was determined to get comic book The Walking Dead into television and she did that in spades. Now she has her sights set on Jamaica–in a pirate ship. Hurd and Valhalla Entertainment will develop an hourlong drama for FX called Port Royal, a 17th century period series that charts the boom of Jamaica as a thriving epicenter of merciless pirates, dirty politicians and cutthroat merchants. For Hurd, this realizes a long-time passion of hers and helping her is Scott Rosenbaum (Chuck, The Shield) will write the pilot and executive produce the series.
“I have been obsessed with pirates and Port Royal for years, and have a library of books on the subject,” Hurd told THR in April. “The real story of privateers and the politics of the era has never been explored on screen, and I’m excited to bring that world to life with the terrific team at GK-tv.”
If Port Royal is a successful pilot/launch, then it will prove like vampires and zombies, pirates never get old. One would have thought that a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film would be beating that parrot (or in this case monkey) to death, but the fourth Captain Jack Sparrow film has become world-wide, the 10th highest grossing film of all time ($956.7 M as of Monday) and is pushing to hit the billion dollar mark before the middle of summer.
Why do I bring up POTC? Numbers like that may give Port Royal the chance to take the show across season, since international interest for POTC is through the roof. Over 75% came from foreign box office. CW’s Nikita starring Maggie Q for example is a show that, despite below average network numbers in the US, was renewed on its strong international appeal in the UK.
Hurd usually has a good eye for what works and what doesn’t and at the very least, Port Royal should be a take on pirates worth checking out. On FX, it could have a home where the stories can be grittier and contain more substance than any other popular narratives featuring pirates and mercenaries without monsters and supernatural elements. Despite recent disappointing cancellations at FX, you have to admire their aim to manufacture diverse and original programming, even if audiences don’t always find it. Here’s to a straight-forward, dark and honest pirate drama.
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!