Starz Giving Outlander an Early Debut — and Splitting Season 1

Outlander poster dw

Starz’ adaptation of Outlander is getting an early delivery.

The network will make the premiere of the highly anticipated new series available via multiple TV and online platforms beginning Aug. 2, ahead of its Aug. 9 broadcast debut.

VIDEO | Starz’s New Outlander Trailer Showcases Time Travel, Scotland and 50 Percent More Jamie

Additionally, the 16-episode first season will be split into two halves, with the first eight hours airing through Sept. 27, Starz announced at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour in Beverly Hills on Friday. The second half of the season will run in early 2015.

The series, adapted by Battlestar Galactica‘s Ronald D. Moore, follows the story of Claire Randall (played by Caitriona Balfe), a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

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28 Comments
  1. Linda says:

    I hate when they split seasons……….

    • Reality says:

      I don’t mind when it’s only 2-3 months. It’s an important strategy many cable shows are doing because they are no longer following the 10-13 episode season mold any longer. ABC Family gives their shows about 20-25 episodes a season, allowing them to air virtually year-round with only two 3-month hiatuses. The Walking Dead has been following the split season routine (2-month hiatus) since it’s second season and has profited from it, allowing more anticipation to build up and less time between seasons (6-7 months vs. 10).

      But then you have the ugly/greedy side of the split season strategy which happened to Breaking Bad and now Mad Men. They take a single season and split it up like it’s actually two, airing them 9-10 months apart. That is the type of split season which is unreasonable. Syfy also did the same thing for several seasons with Eureka.

      • Moment says:

        Most cable shows air out interrupted though. Take Major Crimes, the 2nd Season aired weekly with no break for 19 episodes. Breaking Bad and Mad Men followed this format too until their final seasons.

        • Reality says:

          Actually, Major Crimes took a 3-month hiatus after 11 episodes during season two, something they are likely to repeat this season. TNT and USA also regularly practice a split season format by airing the majority of a season (10 or so episodes), taking a 2-3 month break and then returning with the remaining handful. TV Land also follows this format with most of their original sitcoms, especially Hot in Cleveland.

          I’m not saying it’s a superior way to air a show, but when you’ve got closer to 20 episodes than 10, it makes sense to split it up with a little break. It allows people to take a bit of a break, catch up (marathons), and like I said above; to build anticipation (which is obviously a business technique for bigger ratings).

          • Moment says:

            Yes you’re right about Major Crimes. Apologies. We’ll just have to see how this move from Starz will work out.

          • Len says:

            I find that the worst. 10 episodes, a 2-4 month break and the back for four or so episodes. Now that schedule is frustrating!

          • Moment says:

            @Len

            I agree, I just think Starz are the wrong network to do this schedule. They’re a network that seems to average under a million viewers for a lot of their shows, some even pull under half a million. They’re only punishing the small but loyal followings their stuff has by delaying intentionally.

  2. Rook says:

    Not really a fan of splitting up a season, I would rather wait longer and have the episodes run uninterrupted.

  3. Becky says:

    Eh, I guess we just have something to look forward to come January (?) with the split season. Can’t wait to watch it! It looks so good!

  4. Andrea says:

    Happy that I might get to see it a week early but really not thrilled with having to wait several months for the last 8 episodes.

  5. christine says:

    I CAN NOT WAIT!!!!!

  6. Moment says:

    Splitting a season is a very bad idea, especially when it’s not a mega hit like The Walking Dead. Viewers can easily lose interest, or forget about the show during the hiatus.

    They should just air it for its entire run uninterrupted and then decide to renew it based on that.

  7. Phil says:

    I went from excited for this show to not caring. What exactly is the reason for this? Money. Not viewers, not what’s best for the show, not even to avoid the fall premieres – money.

    First season shows should NOT have their seasons split! Remember Caprica? You barely establish your viewership, you stoke the fire and then BAM – three months to cool all that off. Networks might call it a “simmer” period, but it’s a cool-off. You haven’t stuck the landing with a fantastic first season to really get people invested and talking – you’re stuck in the middle – so the audience tapers (which is probably worse than hating or loving).

    Want more episodes to show in January? Order season two early, get it going (we’re talking Starz, which does this anyway, so why waste our time?) and maybe a cable show could actually produce the same amount of episodes a year as a network show. Audiences are hungry for this show – this move is stupid.

    • David A. says:

      I imagine some of this has to do w/production. One of the problems GoT has is that w/its rich content and lavish costuming and sets, there is BARELY enough time each year to film and produce just 10 eps. Here we have Outlander w/SIXTEEN eps/season using equally lavish sets and costuming (and FAR more historical accuracy) that is about to start broadcasting despite that they haven’t finished production on half of the eps yet. IIRC, they haven’t yet even STARTED filming the final four eps!

      Couple this w/the STRONG likelihood that SPT and Starz will green-light a second season, filming would have to start less than two months from now from a screenplay that hasn’t yet been adapted from a book that is set in 18th Century France every bit as much as in the 18th C. Scotland of the current show (NTM 1960’s Boston). It will need to include MANY new characters in addition to almost ALL of the current cast.

      Talk about a scheduling nightmare! They’ll have to work like maniacs to get “Outlander: Dragonfly in Amber” ready to broadcast by Aug 2015! :-D

      • Tarah Cavaco says:

        Agreed, David. I don’t really think Phil over here realizes how in depth these books that they’re adapting to TV are. They’re incredibly detailed, massive books. To bring that to television is a massive undertaking. To my mind (and to other long time fans of the books, possibly), I’m just glad they’re airing them period. They could have just waited until all the episodes were filmed, which they didn’t. They could have just aired them all at once, which would rush production, and do the series a disservice.

  8. Wish it was not being split into two parts! Can’t wait for the premiere!

  9. Margaery says:

    I’m happy if they start up again during the network shows’ hiatuses. If they are running 8 episodes starting in August, they will break just as the network shows begin the Fall schedule. If they come back while those show go on winter break it would be great- something to watch when my other shows are gone. (I still think this would have been a better approach for the OUAT spinoff).

  10. LABete says:

    Yay!!!! Wait…what?!!?? OMG. Emotional whiplash! I guess it’s better than having to wait a year between seasons? Anyway, I like being able to watch the pilot early.

  11. Jonathan says:

    I was hoping that outlander tv series was going to be a series based off the movie staring Jim Caviezel. But, I will be happy to watch it and give it a fair chance. As far as the split half season (8×8), I think split seasons is the (unfortunate) sign of the future of scheduling. I think a full season is 24ish eps and have another show take its place when it is on hiatus.

  12. Ally Oop says:

    FYI to all my fellow Canucks–Outlander won`t be showing up on Showcase until August 24th and will be airing Sundays. So we have an extra 3 weeks to wait, lucky us. I`ve been eagerly awaiting this show forever and it sucks that I wont be able to watch it at the same time as those in the States because then I can`t join in on any of the discussions for fear of spoilers.

  13. It is never a good idea to split a series up. Never.

  14. AvalonHart says:

    I’m totally thrilled that some network finally picked this up…regardless of which one. I’ve been a fan of the series since the first book was published in the 1990’s, so those of us who are “seasoned fans” have waited many years for the story to come to the screen. Looking so forward to it…

  15. macy says:

    Will the August 2nd showing be only online? I don’t see it in the STARZ schedule.

  16. Shayna says:

    Really what I don’t like is how they made the 1st episode available last weekend. I thought I had missed the premiere so I watched it through on demand, so now it’s 2 weeks for the second episode? If they’re gonna do that, then every episode should be available a week early on demand. Sheesh. But lovvee who was cast as Jamie. ;)

    • nleglinger says:

      Scottish actor Sam Hueghan was cast as Jamie Fraser. Its crazy but he is actually what I pictured Jamie to look like in the book. He does a fabulous job as Jamie truly ,actually all the characters do a fab job:-) Such a huge fan of the Outlander book series & show!! Just so thrilled this show is on screen.

  17. Sheilah Todd says:

    I won’t lastttt till 2015 aghhhh THIS IS THE BEST SHOW EVER!!! And I’m a true blood fan HURRRRY so sad only two episodes left SHOULD HAVE DONE THE FULL 16 dang it

    • nleglinger says:

      I know how you feel I’m not going to make it either but I do have the books to keep me company. Oh and I get to go back to Scotland in November. I hate they are splitting the show up but I do understand it’s such a huge undertaking to take almost a 900-page book into a tv series.

      So excited for the wedding but a wee bit sad only 2 more episodes left until 2015. Really it’s not that far off. Given the sensitive nature where the book goes next I can understand it will be hard to bring to the screen.
      Also we know that Starz has renewed for Season 2 which will be taken from Dragonfly in Amber book 2. Just really happy that so far they have kept it true to the wonderful books Diana Gabaldon wrote unlike what True Blood did not staying true to the books Charlain Harris wrote as a writer myself this makes me ecstaticly happy:-)

  18. I had never heard of Outlander or the Gabaldon books until a week ago and neither had my friends. I devoured epi’s 1-7 over an entire weekend becoming hooked after the first episode and fully addicted after watching “The Wedding”! Of course I told all of my girl friends about the show. I don’t get why they are splitting up season 1. We can’t be the only ones who are just getting on board. They need to get the word out there about this awesome show. I cannot fathom waiting months to watch the rest of season 1! At least I can occupy myself with the books.

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