Starz to Debut ‘Outlander’ Premiere Free a Week Early, Show Gets Split Season

TCA 2014: The premium cabler said the time-travel series will air only eight of 16 episodes this year

OUTLANDER TCA premiere split season

Starz announced two developments regarding the first season run of its much-anticipated series, “Outlander.”

First, the premium cable network will release the premiere episode a week ahead of its television debut. The premiere episode will be available on multiple online and television platforms, including, the Starz “Outlander” Twitter page, the Starz YouTube page, Starz “Outlander” Facebook Page and the free STARZ PLAY app for all users in the United States starting Aug. 2.

A week later, the series will officially debut on Starz on Aug. 9 at 9/8c. But, it will only air the first half of the show’s 16-episode first season on Saturdays through Sept. 27. The remaining episodes will air in early 2015.

See video: ‘Outlander’ Sends Claire Back in Time in New Preview

When asked why Starz decided to split the season up, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht told TheWrap in a statement that the move bought some time for the production to finish the show.

“While airing a season in two parts is not a new strategy, in the case of ‘Outlander,’ it allows the production enough time to finish making this beautiful — and very epic — show,” Albrecht said. “As it is now, it will be shooting through the end of September, well past its August 9 premiere. This also allows us to get other projects on the air before the end of the year that we’ve wanted to experiment with, like ‘The Missing.’”

Adapted from Diana Gabaldon‘s popular novel of the same name, “Outlander” follows Claire (Balfe), a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743.

Also read: ‘Outlander’ Boss Ronald D. Moore Underestimated the Casting for Claire: ‘It Was Difficult’

In the past, her life is threatened and she’s forced to marry Jamie Fraser (Heughan), a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior. As a result, Claire becomes torn between her two lives.

“Battlestar Galactica” producer Ronald D. Moore and Jim Kohlberg are executive producers of “Outlander,” which is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining and Supply Company and Left Bank Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television.