India’s Richest Man Backs Start-Up Channel Epic TV
India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, is backing Epic TV, a new Indian start-up channel. Due to start broadcasting next month, the high-def channel will have content based on the nation’s history, folklore and mythology in a contemporary format, Indian press reported. Former Walt Disney India managing director Mahesh Samat is leading the channel. Ambani, who is the chairman of Reliance Industries, has taken a more than 25% stake in the group via his Reliance Ports & Terminals. This is his second broadcasting venture; he already owns a stake in the Network18 Group. Ambani is the brother of Anil Ambani, who heads DreamWorks partner Reliance Entertainment.
Portion Of France’s Anti-Piracy Law Overturned
A section of anti-piracy law that France spent millions on developing has been overturned. The controversial Hadopi legislation was introduced in 2009 as a three-strikes program that would begin with warning letters sent to suspected online pirates and end with the suspension of their Internet access. But the Culture and Communications Ministry said today that the last leg has been overturned and French judges no longer will be able to impose suspensions. Rather, people who illegally download copyrighted content will be faced with fines that could increase gradually. This is the first measure adopted following a comprehensive report that was led by former Canal Plus chief Pierre Lescure. Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti tweeted her support, saying, “Cutting off Internet is over. Change is now. We will fight relentlessly against sites that make money on the backs of creators.”
Heather Jones Tapped As VP Programming At A+E Networks UK
A+E Networks UK, a joint venture between A+E Networks and BSkyB, has appointed Heather Jones as VP Programming. Jones, who will take up the post later this month, will be responsible for programming strategy across the company’s channels in the UK, Central Europe, Benelux, Scandinavia, the Middle East, Greece and Africa. She’ll also work to increase the international expansion of A+E Networks UK’s channel portfolio, which includes History, Crime & Investigation Network and Lifetime. The exec was previously managing director of independent production company North One Television, part of the All3Media group. She has also held roles as director of television at Viacom UK and as managing director at Paramount Comedy. Jones replaces previous incumbent Adam MacDonald who leaves the company to take up the role as director of SKY 1.
Abi Morgan Set For Royal Court Theatre Debut With ‘The Mistress Contract’
The Iron Lady and The Hour scripter Abi Morgan will make her debut at London’s Royal Court Theatre with The Mistress Contract, The Independent reports. The play she scripted is based on the memoirs of a woman who drew up a contract agreeing to be the mistress of a wealthy businessman. The anonymous couple is still together, she now 88 and he now 93, and living on the US West Coast. A book was published in the U.S. in 2011 and comes out in the UK in November. The play runs from January. Morgan’s credits also include the screenplay for Steve McQueen’s Michael Fassbender starrer Shame and the TV adaptation of Birdsong. Meanwhile, the Royal Court’s new season also will host a stage version of the Swedish novel and film Let The Right One In.
Hasbro Studios Re-Ups With Madman Entertainment For Australia, NZ
Hasbro Studios has renewed its home entertainment agreement with Madman Entertainment for Australia and New Zealand. The deal covers the second seasons of Transformers Prime and My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic which were released in June on DVD and VOD. Produced and distributed globally by Hasbro Studios, Transformers Prime hails from executive producers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Kline. My Little Pony follows a core cast of six pony friends in their offbeat experiences, lessons in friendship and enchanted adventures.
Brian Cox, Julie Graham Join Cast Of BBC One’s ‘Shetland’
Brian Cox and Julie Graham have joined the cast of BBC One’s murder-mystery drama Shetland. The second season is currently filming in Scotland, in collaboration with BBC Scotland and produced by ITV Studios. Cox (The Bourne Identity) and Graham (Survivors) will star alongside Douglas Henshall who reprises his lead role as Detective Jimmy Perez for the six-part series that’s based on the novels by Ann Cleeves. Exec producers are Christopher Aird for the BBC and Elaine Collins for ITV Studios.