As for Starz's involvement, they're promising a much bigger Torchwood:
BBC Cymru Wales, BBC Worldwide and US premium entertainment network, Starz Entertainment, have today announced a three way co-production partnership that will develop a new series of the hit BBC sci-fi drama Torchwood. BBC Worldwide will also distribute the series to broadcasters globally.
The 10-episode instalment will be written by a team led by Torchwood creator, Russell T Davies, and produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. Davies and BBC Worldwide Productions’ SVP Scripted, Julie Gardner, return as executive producers with BBC Worldwide Productions EVP Jane Tranter. The series has been commissioned by Controller BBC ONE, Jay Hunt, Controller BBC Drama, Ben Stephenson, and Starz President and CEO, Chris Albrecht.
While previous series were based on location in Cardiff, Wales, this new instalment will see storylines widen to include locations in the U.S. and around the world. John Barrowman and Eve Myles will return in their roles as Captain Jack and Gwen respectively, along with new faces.
Announcing the commission, Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning said: "We have a long history of working with many U.S. networks but it is incredibly exciting to be working with Starz for the first time, as well as to be reunited with the best of British in Russell, Jane and Julie. Torchwood will burst back onto the screen with a shocking and moving story with global stakes and locations that will make it feel bigger and bolder than ever."
Starz president Chris Albrecht has promised to give Torchwood a bigger budget than it has had before.The Guardian did some fantasizing about who should guest star on the new series, now that it will be co-produced in the U.S.:
"It was too good an opportunity to pass up," he said. "Each season of the show, the show has evolved and 'Children of Earth' was terrific.
"I'm interested in doing sci-fi and what I like a lot about Torchwood is it's a very classic sci-fi entry. It's all about the story, it's not about big effects. I thought 'Children of Earth' evolved the franchise to a place where it could continue to evolve on pay TV with an American partner that could bring more production resources."
Asked if that meant the show would have a bigger budget, Albrecht replied: "Yes, it certainly will."
The fourth series of Torchwood is expected to air on Starz in the US and on BBC One in the UK next summer.
As we speculated earlier in the year, this isn't going to be a US remake of the series but a big, international next chapter, with John Barrowman and Eve Myles reprising their roles as Jack and Gwen. That's all they can bring back, as everyone else is dead (Rhys will presumably spend the series at home looking after the baby). Which brings us to the crucial question: given that this is a US co-production, they're presumably going to bring in some American actors. So who might be added to the new Torchwood team?
The obvious first box to tick would be James Marsters. He's the ultimate go-to guy for US cult telly, and already exists in the Torch-verse, having played Jack's old (ahem) sparring partner Captain John. And as Russell T Davies made no secret of Joss Whedon's godlike influence over the show, and I'd be amazed if there aren't shadowy meetings going on as we speak to have him guest-write an episode, some of Whedon's extended repertory company would be a shoo-in. Eliza Dushku as a new female lead or femme fatale? Neil Patrick Harris as a new love interest for Jack? Nathan Fillion as Jack's new nemesis? Seth Green as the team goof?
Certainly, getting established sci-fi favourites in would seem an obvious way of bumping up the (already significant) interest across the ocean. Katee Sackhoff has proved her chops as an action heroine across the board, and would bring in the Battlestar Galactica audience. Perhaps her co-star in the doomed Bionic Woman, Michelle Ryan, could give Stateside success another go? Likewise, Dominic Monaghan is a Brit with success in the US. And many of his former co-stars from Lost and FlashForward, along with most of the Heroes cast, are now going to be looking for work.
I can't wait until next summer!