Epix to launch Lionsgate-produced pirate series

US cable network Epix is to develop a drama series about pirates based on Marcus Rediker's Villains of All Nations, TBI understands.

The series will be produced by Lionsgate, which is one of the joint venture partners in the premium pay broadcaster along with Viacom and MGM, after the studio optioned Professor Rediker's book about the "Golden Age of Piracy" between 1650 to 1730.

This comes days after the channel struck a deal with director Oliver Stone to produce a TV series based on Bruce Wagner's novel Still Holding, about three disparate people based in Los Angeles.

The channel, which recently increased its distribution by striking a deal with satellite operator Dish, is currently in production with two original series - country music drama Tough Trade and iCon, directed by Larry Charles, based on the popular Fake Steve Jobs blog.

Epix is also set to announce a slate of seven further original productions, reports Deadline Hollywood, including a number of series produced by Fox 21. Series include Lawrence O'Donnell-produced supreme court drama The Supremes, comedy Human Resources, Todd Holland-produced Random Acts, war journalism drama Gonzo, Amy Rice-directed political series Margin of Error, buddy comedy Pulp Bromance and Untitled Penthouse Project, based on a true story from the adult magazine.