Starz expanded its program offerings to include some original television series by the late 1990s with 5 entertainment news programs and shows that focused on the making of upcoming or current feature films (such as Starz Movie News and Hollywood One on One); some of these programs were also aired on Encore. In 2005, Starz began expanding its original programming slate in order to compete with rivals Showtime and HBO, with the inclusion of scripted series. Some of the initial series (such as Kung Faux, The Bronx Bunny Show and Head Case) maintained running times considered unconventional for a live-action series, usually running under 15 minutes in length; half-hour and hour-long series were eventually incorporated on the schedule by 2010 (including shows such as Spartacus, Torchwood: Miracle Day in 2011, Boss and Da Vinci's Demons).
The number of original series that debuted each year on Starz has varied, reaching a high of four series during the 2011 calendar year. In 2013, Starz gave a series order to Outlander, a drama based on the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. The project, from Battlestar Galactica developer Ronald D. Moore and Sony Pictures Television, received a 16-episode order, with production beginning in Scotland (where the books are set) in October 2013. Outlander has received five nominations for the 2015 Women's Image Network Awards, including a nomination in the Drama Series category. Caitriona Balfe, who plays the leading character in the show, also received a nomination in the Actress Drama Series category.
After Starz's 2016 acquisition by Lionsgate, the network has moved to produce more original content, with president of programming Carmi Zlotnik calling Starz a "content pump" for Lionsgate.