In what marks the first official scripted series green light for Xbox Entertainment Studios, the entertainment arm of Microsoft’s XBox has teamed with UK broadcaster Channel 4 to co-produce Humans. The drama, which has received an eight-episode order, hails from UK production company, Kudos (Broadchurch), which has been developing the project, an adaptation of Swedish series Real Humans (watch trailer below), for more than three years. Humans will begin production in the summer for a premiere on the Xbox platform in North America and Channel 4 in the UK in 2015.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Shine International Brings Digital Business In-House; Miso Film Orders Crime Drama ‘Acquitted’; More
Shine International Taps Kerry Ball As SVP Digital Business Development
Shine International, the sales and distribution arm of Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine Group, is bringing its digital business in-house. The indie has appointed Kerry Ball to the newly created post of SVP Digital Business Development. Ball will lead digital sales strategy and manage day-to-day sales to digital and home entertainment platforms for Shine International represented properties. Prior to Ball’s appointment, the business was managed on a consultancy basis by Gordon Synn, who brokered VOD deals of The Hour to Amazon, multi-title agreements with Netflix, library deals with Hulu and an output partnership with China’s Youku Tudou. Synn will hand over to Ball when she takes over later this month. Ball will be based in London. She joins from Canada’s Stingray Digital, where she was VP for Europe. Prior to Stingray, she spent eight years at NBCUniversal. Shine International properties include The Bridge, Broadchurch, The Face and MasterChef.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Jesus Perezagua Exiting Fox International Channels; ‘Peaky Blinders’ Tops BAFTA TV Craft Award Noms; More
Jesus Perezagua Exiting Fox International Channels
Fox International Channels President of Europe and Africa Jesus Perezagua has announced his departure. The exec has been at the company since 2003. He joined as managing director of FIC Spain and Portugal and in 2005 took over the company’s expansion plan in Eastern and Central Europe, Turkey and Greece. Perezagua became President of FIC Europe and Africa in 2011. He will step down from the role on April 30 but will continue to consult FIC. The search is on for a successor. Prior to FIC, Perezagua held posts at Iberian Channels and Online for Fox Kids Entertainment Espana and was Managing Director of Bandai Espana, a Japanese toy company specializing in TV marketing concepts.
ION Television has joined Shaftesbury, Canadian network CTV and Fox International as a producer on the Canadian procedural drama series The Listener for its 13-episode fifth season, which started production earlier this year. Under the agreement, ION becomes the exclusive U.S. television network for originals of fifth and future seasons of the series. ION has been carrying The Listener — in 2011, the network acquired the first two seasons of the drama, which was originally picked up by NBC for a summer 2009 run of Season 1, which was cut short after several episodes. After the show did well alongside CBS’ off-network procedurals, including Criminal Minds and Law & Order; Criminal Intent, I hear ION exercised its option to become a co-producer of original episodes. The network used a similar strategy for another popular Canadian procedural drama, Flashpoint, first inking a syndication deal with CBS for the show’s Season 1-4 episodes that had aired on CBS (plus 11 that hadn’t aired) before becoming Flashpoint‘s exclusive US network for Season 5.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Netflix Execs Headed Back To France For Expansion Talks; Patrick Malone Joins Goldcrest Post; More
Netflix Execs Headed Back To France For More Expansion Talks
Last week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the company was eyeing “substantial” European expansion in 2014. His comments came a little more than a month after execs from the streaming service met with staff of French President François Hollande to discuss an entry into France. According to local media reports, Netflix execs now are due to return to France to meet with industry folk within the next week. Pascal Rogard, head of authors’ rights group the SACD, told Le Figaro that the situation is coming into focus with a possible launch later this year. Netflix is available in 41 countries including France’s neighbors to the north such as the UK, the Netherlands and the Nordic region. A French launch has been rumored over the years, but moving into the fiercely protected territory is ornery in part due to a complex film-windows chronology that prohibits movies from appearing on monthly SVOD services until three years after a theatrical release. There is no such protection for TV series, but Netflix’s House Of Cards already airs on local pay-TV leader Canal Plus, which would see the service’s arrival as competition. In a conversation with analysts, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos was asked last week whether the service would be out of certain markets with its key originals because it had already sold them to local providers. “It depends,” he said. “There’s multiple windows, and we’ll continue to have those negotiations as we get closer to those launches.” It’s expected that should Netflix enter France, it would have to adhere to obligations to invest in local content. Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti told Le Journal du Dimanche this weekend, “Netflix should be an additional player, not a stowaway.” It’s also believed that Netflix is eyeing a move into Germany. With regard to expansion, MoffettNathanson Research’s Michael Nathanson said last week that “it remains difficult to figure out the ultimate size and value of Netflix’s international opportunity” due to the company’s “undisclosed new market entries, minimal transparency and continual reinvestment.”
Under the first-look development and distribution deal, Shine International will represent tape and format rights for new television output from 44 Blue Productions. The pact was brokered by Rasha Drachkovitch, President of 44 Blue, Stephanie Drachkovitch, EVP and Co-Owner of 44 Blue, and Tania Jacobson, SVP Sales and Acquisitions, Americas. Deal takes effect immediately. 44 Blue’s slate includes Wahlburgers on A&E, Lockup franchise reality series on MSNBC, Pit Bulls & Parolees (Animal Planet), Split Ends (Style) and Married To The Army: Alaska. Shine International’s third-party titles include 24 Hours In A&E , Anything Goes, Killers Behind Bars, Hoarding: Buried Alive and The School. Scripted includes Archer, In The Flesh, Real Humans and The Listener.
EXCLUSIVE: In show business, many start as agents before segueing to a career in the executive ranks. J.C. Mills is taking the opposite route, joining ICM Partners‘ International Television and Media Department in New York today. He is expected to be focused on non-scripted but also cover other aspects of the international TV marketplace. Mills comes from National Geographic Channel where he spent the past two years as a development executive, shepherding unscripted pilots, specials and series and working with oversees producers on international formats. Before joining Nat Geo in January 2012, Mills was VP Acquisitions & Business Development, North America for Zodiak Rights and prior to that was a sales executive at Shine International in the UK. In the agenting ranks, Mills joins his wife, Ashley Davis Mills, who is a New York-based TV agent at rival CAA. Here’s the official release announcing his hire that ICM Partners just sent out:
TCA: PBS Chief Paula Kerger Announces ‘Vicious’ Premiere Date, Teases Ken Burns Country Music Docu, Talks ‘Downton Abbey’
PBS has announced the premiere date of the Britcom Vicious, starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as a gay couple who have been together nearly half a century. The six-part series, which PBS acquired from Shine International in October, will air on Sundays and premiere July 6 at 10:30 PM. Meanwhile, Jacobi’s drama Last Tango In Halifax has been ordered for a second season, returning June 29, PBS chief Paula Kerger announced this morning at TCA. Also unveiled: Ken Burns is working on a a documentary series about country music — though it won’t air until 2018, Kerger said this morning. Country Music will follow its evolution of over the course of the 20th century as it “eventually emerged to become America’s music,” PBS claimed in its announcement.
And, PBS will never, ever air Downton Abbey seasons closer to its UK run, Kerger indicated — hopefully putting a stake in that debate for press tours ever after. Kerger cited this month’s Season 4 debut audience – 10.2 million viewers, which was a 22% jump compared to the Season 3 opener (7.9 million), which itself had been a leap from the series Season 2 launch crowd of 4.2 mil. Downton is PBS’ highest rated drama ever. ”It’s become a bit of tradition after the holidays to come together to watch Downton,” Kerger said happily. “The audience build over the years…argues to keep the January time frame,” she said. And, of course, a fall launch coinciding with the UK’s Downton season would put it in the teeth of the commercial broadcast network’s fall-season rollout, which, she noted, TV critics in the room had criticized PBS for doing in the past. Not to mention that the series’ UK broadcaster determines its debut date not terribly long before it actually happens — no weeks and weeks of promotions, as is the norm in the U.S. PBS cannot upstage the show in the UK.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Ecosse Films Inks 3-Year Deal With Shine International; Film4′s Katherine Butler Headed To UK’s Raw; More
Ecosse Films Inks First-Look Deal With Shine International
The UK’s Ecosse Films has pacted with Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine International in a three-year, first-look deal that will see the latter handle the producer’s TV sales and distribution. Ecosse’s TV credits include three seasons of Mistresses for BBC One (the U.S. remake was recently renewed for a second season by ABC); Life Of Crime for ITV and biopic Fleming for Sky Atlantic HD. Ecosse also has feature credits that include Diana, Becoming Jane and Nowhere Boy. Shine will rep finished tape and format rights for Ecosse Films’ new television output from January 1 onward.
Katherine Butler Leaving Film4 For UK Producer Raw
Film4 Deputy Head of Film Katherine Butler is leaving to join UK producer Raw. She will head up the film and TV drama division. Traditionally a factual producer, Raw launched a film and drama wing in 2012. Its series include Gold Rush for the Discovery Channel, Locked Up Abroad for National Geographic, and Paranormal Witness for Syfy. On the drama side, Raw has five projects in development with Film4, including Bart Layton’s American Animals. While at Film4, Butler executive produced numerous titles including Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur, Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers, Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio, and Clio Bernard’s BAFTA-nominated The Selfish Giant. Raw and Film4 maintain strong ties.
Global Showbiz Briefs: BSkyB Opens Sky Store To Nonsubscribers; Netflix Eyeing France Launch?; More;
BSkyB Opens Its Sky Store Rentals To All Broadband Users
BSkyB set a challenge today to streaming providers in the UK such as Netflix and LoveFilm by announcing it has opened its Sky Store movie rental service to anyone with a broadband connection. The service does not require a Sky subscription, meaning all users in the UK and the Republic of Ireland will have access. Sky, which is controlled by 21st Century Fox, says new films including Man Of Steel and Despicable Me 2 are available from today with other fresh titles available at the same time as they drop on DVD. Those will rent for £3.49 ($5.70) each. Library titles will go for 99p-£1.99. There are already about 1,200 movies online which can be streamed through SkyStore.com, or via NOW TV, Roku and YouView. Sky’s had success with renting movies to its existing customers with 2.1 million rentals in the third quarter.
Report: Netflix Mulls Expansion Into France
Netflix has been a long time coming to France, Europe’s third-largest market, but is the tide about to turn? According to Reuters, executives from Netflix met with the staff of French President François Hollande this week to discuss the move. Netflix is available in 41 countries including France’s neighbors to the north such as the UK, the Netherlands and the Nordic region. A French launch has been rumored over the years, but moving into the fiercely protected territory is ornery for the streaming service given a complex film-windows chronology. There is no such protection for TV series, but many U.S. shows air as much as a year later than they do in the U.S. on traditional networks like TF1. TF1 has a VOD service that offers first-run U.S. series on a one-day delay and pay-TV leader Canal Plus airs first-run series within a few days; it even launched a new channel this year on which to showcase them. But movies are hampered by rules that prohibit films from appearing on monthly SVOD services until three years after a theatrical release. Rentals via a set-top box are permissible four months after theatrical. The windows issue has long been a thorny one in France, with industry opinions divided, but discussions are ongoing. A Hollande rep told Reuters, “Netflix wanted information about the legal conditions that would affect its potential arrival in France.”
EXCLUSIVE: Shine International has closed a deal with PBS on Will & Grace exec producer Gary Janetti’s British sitcom Vicious. The public broadcaster will air Vicious in the U.S. next year. The initial six-part series premiered on ITV in April and at the time was the highest-rated comedy launch on any UK channel in 2013. It went on to hold an average of about 3.4M viewers. Veteran British thesps Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi play a constantly bickering couple who’ve lived together in a small Covent Garden flat for nearly 50 years. But underneath all their vicious co-dependent fighting, they deeply love each other. Harry Potter‘s Frances de la Tour and Game Of Thrones‘ Iwan Rheon also star. The show was given a second-season order by ITV in August and Shine America has been exploring a U.S. version. Vicious is a Brown Eyed Boy production in association with Shine’s Kudos and Nickelby Inc. The deal was brokered by Matt Vassallo, Bill Gardner, and Jack Dougherty on behalf of PBS.
Fox has given an eight-episode order to Slide Show, an unscripted comedy from Shine America and Steve Carell. It is based on international format Anything Goes, originally created by Arthur Essebag for French-based production company Satisfaction, The Television Agency. Slide Show pits two teams — featuring the nation’s funniest celebrities and comedians — against each other in a series of showdowns designed to hilariously test mind and body. Throughout the game, the competitors must think on their feet as the teams face unpredictable song, dance and sketch challenges, often while navigating the show’s trademark one-of-a-kind set, tilted at a 22.5 degree angle. “I think unscripted television should be outrageous and audacious by definition. Unfortunately, not much is, as of late,” said Reilly. “Slide Show is the most ridiculously fun and out-there thing I’ve seen in quite awhile.” Added Carell, “Comedy is subjective, but if you don’t find Slide Show to be funny and enormously entertaining, then you will never be my friend.”
David Tennant, star of the Brit hit crime drama Broadchurch and one of the most beloved Doctor Who actors, has been cast in Fox‘s U.S. remake of Broadchurch. The U.S. version will star Tennant as an American detective who is the lead male investigator on the case of a shocking murder that puts a small town under scrutiny. This time it’s set in an American town, and, like the original, follows the tragic and mysterious death of a young boy found dead on an idyllic beach surrounded by rocks and a jutting cliff-face, from where he may have fallen. Although his cause of death remains unsolved, the picturesque seaside town where the tragedy occurred is at the heart of a major police investigation and a nationwide media frenzy.
Dan Futterman (Capote, In Treatment, Foxcatcher) and Anya Epstein (In Treatment, Homicide) have signed on as executive producers and showrunners. The crime series is scheduled to begin filming in January for broadcast during the 2014-2015 season.
Six New International Deals For UK’s Drama ‘Broadchurch’
Shine International said Wednesday that it has made a half-dozen more deals for Broadchurch, the UK’s most-watched new drama: Channel One (Russia), France 2, NRK (Norway), OnDirecTV (DirecTV Latin America), ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG (Germany) and TV4 (Sweden). The deals bring Broadchurch into 32 territories worldwide, including ABC Australia and BBC America, Broadchurch premiered Wednesday night. Also, Fox said at TCA last week that it is adapting the show as one of its new “event series”. The eight-part UK series, starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman, was created and written by Chris Chibnall. It’s set in a quiet seaside town following the murder of a young boy and focuses on the impact the crime has on the community when everyone becomes a suspect.
Icon Taps Roadshow Films NZ As Its New Zealand Distributor
Icon Film Distribution said Wednesday that it has chosen Roadshow Films NZ as its new theatrical distribution partner in New Zealand. The deal, which begins in November, represents an extension of home entertainment distribution relationship between the two companies. Among the first Icon titles distributed by Roadshow in the territory will be Filth and Ender’s Game. Icon had been partnered with Studio Canal in New Zealand.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Broadchurch’ Set For US; Locarno To Fete Douglas Trumbull; Sky Sports Offers Free Football; More
ITV’s UK Hit ‘Broadchurch’ Coming To BBC America In August
ITV’s hit contemporary drama Broadchurch is set to debut on BBC America at 10 PM August 7. The series, starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman, was created and written by Chris Chibnall. It’s set in a quiet seaside town following the shocking murder of a young boy and focuses on the impact the crime has on the community when everyone becomes a suspect. The most tweeted-about UK drama ever, the show had Britain rapt over its eight-episode run and set off a “Who shot J.R.?”-type frenzy as it progressed. Broadchurch is a Kudos and Imaginary Friends co-production that’s distributed by Shine International. ITV ordered a second season back in April.
Douglas Trumbull Receive Locarno Film Festival Honor
Director and special effects veteran Douglas Trumbull will receive the Locarno Film Festival’s first Vision Award — Electronic Studio. The new prize is designed to highlight and pay tribute to a professional whose creative work behind the scenes, as well as in their own right, has contributed to opening up new perspectives in film. The 66th edition of Locarno will screen films Trumbull worked on including Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life as well as his own Silent Running. Trumbull will also offer two masterclasses. The Locarno fest runs August 7-17.
Shine-owned production company Kudos has partnered with Imaginary Friends Productions for an exclusive two-year, first-look deal. Imaginary Friends is run by Broadchurch writer and exec producer Chris Chibnall. He’s coming off the first season of the hit ITV show which had all of Britain engrossed. Kudos will have first crack at co-developing and co-producing Chibnall’s new scripted projects. As with Broadchurch, he would exec produce alongside Kudos CEO Jane Featherstone. Shine International will rep sales. Broadchurch was renewed for a second season and will air in the U.S later this year on BBC America. Chibnall previously worked with Kudos as a writer on Life On Mars and a showrunner on Law & Order: UK.
2013-14 Fox New Series
New Comedies — Fall
Brooklyn Nine-Nine — From Emmy Award-winning writer/producers Dan Goor and Michael Schur (“Parks and Recreation”), and starring Emmy Award winners Andy Samberg (“Saturday Night Live”) and Andre Braugher (“Men of a Certain Age,” “Homicide: Life on the Street”), BROOKLYN NINE-NINE is a new single-camera ensemble comedy about what happens when a talented, but carefree, detective gets a new captain with a lot to prove. Detective JAKE PERALTA (Samberg) is a good enough cop that he’s never had to work that hard or follow the rules too closely. Perhaps because he has the best arrest record among his colleagues, he’s been enabled – if not indulged – throughout his entire career. That is, until the precinct gets a new commanding officer, Captain RAY HOLT (Braugher), who reminds this hotshot cop to respect the badge. Jake may have collared more criminals, but Detective AMY SANTIAGO (Melissa Fumero, “One Life to Live,” “Gossip Girl”) is close behind, and she’s keenly aware of how many arrests she needs to close the gap. Amy grew up with seven brothers who were all cops. She’s the first girl in the family to put on a police uniform, and suffice it to say: she’s extremely competitive…about everything. Also working cases in Brooklyn’s 99th precinct is Sergeant TERRY JEFFORDS (Terry Crews, “Bridesmaids,” “Everybody Hates Chris”), a linebacker of a man who’s lost his nerve, not because he’s a wimp, but because a year ago, his wife …
Global Showbiz Briefs: Shine Int’l Makes CEO Permanent; New Download/Streaming Service Headed For UK
Shine International Takes Interim Tag Off Nohr
More than eight months after Nadine Nohr stepped in as interim CEO at Shine International, the company has made her gig permanent. Two years ago, the exec supervised the unit’s revamp and relocation. She began as a consultant to Shine International, the sales and distribution arm of the Shine Group, in 2011. Her resume includes a dozen years at Granada International.