CBS Studios is bringing “King and Conqueror” to life. The 11th-century period drama series was announced Tuesday and will tell the tale of England’s origins. The studio describes the premium drama as “the story of a clash that defined the future of a country — and a continent — for a thousand years, the roots of which stretch back decades and extend out through a pair of interconnected family dynasties, struggling for power across two countries and a raging sea.”
The eight-episode series focuses on Harold of Wessex (James Norton) and William of Normandy (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), better known as William the Conqueror.
“Harold of Wessex and William of Normandy were two men destined to meet at the Battle of Hastings in 1066; two allies with no design on the British throne, who found themselves forced by circumstance and personal obsession into a war for possession of its crown,” the studio said in a statement.
The show is written and created by Michael Robert Johnson, who previously penned Robert Downey Jr.’s “Sherlock Holmes.” The pilot will be directed by Baltasar Kormákur (“Everest,” “2 Guns,” “Beast”) who also serves as an executive producer.
The BBC has the United Kingdom broadcasting rights on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, while distribution elsewhere will be handled by Paramount Global Content Distribution.
Norton has appeared in “Little Women,” as well as the series “Happy Valley” and “The Nevers,” among other roles. Coster-Waldau is best known as Jaime Lannister on “Game of Thrones,” but he’s also been in “Oblivion,” “Gods of Egypt” and “Black Hawk Down,” even cameoing recently in “The Flash.”
Coster-Waldau is set to direct an episode. He will also executive produce the series, as will Norton through his production company Rabbit Track Pictures.
The series is planned to go into production next year in Iceland.
“We are thrilled to partner with James, Nikolaj, Baltasar and the entire creative team on ‘King and Conqueror,’ a truly groundbreaking series with world-class talent and global reach,” CBS Studios’ Lindsey Martin said. “Michael’s scripts offer a bold and fresh take on a story that has endured for nearly 1,000 years, and yet, the themes are as contemporary and relevant as ever.”
“King and Conqueror” is produced by The Development Partnership, Rabbit Track Pictures, Shepherd Content, RVK Studios and CBS Studios, in association with the BBC.
“In the U.K. we learn about William the Conqueror, the Battle of Hastings and King Harold’s gruesome death in our school history lessons — but those headlines are all most of us can remember,” the BBC’s Sue Deeks said. “‘King and Conqueror’ will bring Harold and William to life, depicting their lives, loves and families, and the gripping, high-stakes power game that led to their fateful meeting in 1066.”
Executive producers also include Johnson, Kormákur for RVK Studios, Kitty Kaletsky for Rabbit Track Pictures, Robert Taylor for The Development Partnership, Dave Clarke and Richard Halliwell for Shepherd Content, Ed Clarke, Robert Jones and CBS Studios’ Martin.
Coster-Waldau is represented by UTA, Sloane Offer Weber and Relevant. Norton is represented by The Artists Partnership, WME, Johnson Shapiro Slewtt & Kole and Tapestry.