Spanish-language U.S. network MundoFox will announce 20 new original programs as part of its summer and fall schedules today during Fox Hispanic Media’s upfont presentation in NY. Among the highlights are the Spanish-language version of The X Factor, El Factor X, which will launch in the summer; Café Con Aroma De Mujer, a remake of the Colombian hit from Ugly Betty‘s original Betty La Fea creator Fernando Gaitán; FX’s series The Bridge starring Demian Bichir, part of the network’s weekend schedule; and the boxing docu-drama The Golden Boys from executive producers Mario Lopez and Oscar de la Hoya. Here’s the network’s full list of shows and specials:
During a Bates Motel panel discussion Friday, Carlton Cuse was blunt about borrowing from a classic. No, not Hitchcock’s Psycho; TV’s Twin Peaks. “We pretty much ripped off Twin Peaks,” joked Cuse, executive producer of the A&E series with Kerry Ehrin, in response to a question about the similarities from panel moderator Shawn Ryan. “If you wanted to get that confession, the answer is yes,” he continued, tongue in cheek. “I loved that show. They only did 30 episodes. Kerry and I thought we’d do the 70 that are missing.” Cuse appeared on the Paley Center panel “Inside Bates Motel: Reimagining A Cinema Icon” with Ehrin, Vera Farmiga (who portrays Norma Bates), Freddie Highmore (Norman), Max Thieriot (Norman’s half-brother Dylan), Nicola Peltz (popular teen Bradley Martin) and Nestor Carbonell (Sheriff Alex Romero). English actress Olivia Cooke, who plays Norman’s friend Emma Decody, who battles cystic fibrosis, was a no-show because of “visa snafus,” Ryan said. Once it was acknowledged that both TV shows are plenty creepy and set in the foggy Northwest, Cuse, Ehrin and the cast spent more time during the freewheeling discussion citing the similarities and differences of Bates Motel from Hitchcock’s iconic 1960 film.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘The Trip’ Season 2; UK Tax Incentives; Sony, Universal Team In Nordic Region; Electus & ‘Bet On Your Baby’; Endemol In Israel & More
Coogan, Brydon & Winterbottom To Take Another ‘Trip’
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are reteaming with Michael Winterbottom for a second series of The Trip. The BBC Two comedy, released theatrically in the U.S. by IFC, set Coogan and Brydon off on a road trip to tour the UK Lake District’s best restaurants. Memorable for the duo’s attempts to best one another at celebrity impressions, the first season was highly improvised. The second season will be set in Italy on a road trip that retraces the footsteps of the Romantics, Coogan told Empire Magazine.
UK Touts Tax Incentive For High-End TV Productions
The British film industry celebrated the UK’s new Creative Sector Tax Reliefs this morning in London. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey were on hand to outline the importance of the new incentives which will see qualifying high-end TV and animation productions receive up to 25% in tax relief. The scheme came into effect on April 1. Vaizey said “The UK’s creative industries are a real success story, worth more than £36 billion a year. We know that the television and animation sectors make a real difference to the UK economy and these new tax reliefs will be instrumental in expanding our potential.” Iain Smith, producer and chair of the British Film Commission, encouraged the industry to “continue to fight rigorously to maintain our position as a leading center of production.” There was also a case study of HBO’s Game Of Thrones, which is shooting its fourth season in Northern Ireland. HBO SVP Jay Roewe noted the new measures “will make filming in the UK an even more viable proposition.” The BFC recently hosted events in Los Angeles and New York to educate studios, broadcasters, producers and agents on the incentives.
Former Walt Disney Television International and Nickelodeon exec Nicky Douglas will oversee Universal Networks International’s Universal Channel, Syfy, E! Entertainment Television, The Style Network and Movies 24 in the UK. The group of channels has been ramping up its business in the territory with a series of significant deals. Universal Channel just acquired A&E Network’s Bates Motel for two seasons and launched TNT’s Major Crimes as part of an exclusive pact. Syfy premiered drama series Defiance yesterday, 24 hours after its U.S. bow. Douglas most recently had her own consulting firm and will start her new job immediately.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Bates Motel’ In UK; ‘Not Another Happy Ending’ To Close Edinburgh; BBC Worldwide & Foxtel
In a significant first-run deal, Universal Channel has acquired A&E Network‘s Bates Motel for the UK. Handled overseas by NBCUniversal International Television Distribution, the series is a contemporary prequel to the Alfred Hitchcock feature Psycho and stars Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot, Olivia Cooke, Nicola Peltz and Nestor Carbonel. It debuted in the U.S. on March 18 and was renewed for a second run last week. Universal Channel acquired both seasons. Bates Motel is produced by Universal Television for A&E. Carlton Cruse, and Kerry Ehrin are exec producers.
FremantleMedia is launching a new slate of scripted titles at Mip-TV which kicks off next week in Cannes, France. Among them are Wentworth, the reimagining of Prisoner Cell Block H, and The Making Of A Lady, from Runaway Fridge. Wentworth is a 10-part FremantleMedia Australia production that will premiere on Oz’s Foxtel in May. Event thriller Lady stars Linus Roache, Joanna Lumley and Lydia Wilson and is based on The Making Of A Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Organic Marketing To Split Marketing & Publicity
UK-based marketing and publicity company Organic Marketing will split into two along those lines, with its publicity department operating as a standalone division, it announced today. Emma McCorkell will head the new publicity wing as managing director, with Nick Leese remaining in charge of its marketing arm in an expanded role. The Target MCG company has seen growth in its publicity offering since the popular McCorkell came over from Rogers & Cowan’s UK arm in January 2011, carving a key slice of theatrical, international and online publicity. It recently expanded into production, hiring Harry Potter unit publicist Vanessa Davies and folding in her company, Romley Davies. Organic currently holds accounts for Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, Universal’s Kick-Ass 2 and StudioCanal’s Alan Partridge Is In Alpha Papa, which recently got a new teaser trailer.
Digital Film And TV Downloads Surge Down Under
Digital revenues for film and TV content jumped by 36% to $A127.8 million ($132.3 million) in 2012, according to the first ever study of that sector by the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association. VOD movies accounted for 56% of revenues, TV EST repped 23% and movies EST 21%. Digital sales are worth a bit more than 10% of the $1.174B home entertainment industry, which declined by 9% last year, said AHEDA CEO Simon Bush. The org said …
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
Rupert Murdoch’s Australian empire will generate as much of 60% of the annual earnings of the publishing arm of News Corp. after the company splits this year, say Sydney-based analysts who are generally sanguine about the new News Corporation’s prospects. The Oz group has largely gone under the radar of international investors until now because its financial results were not disclosed. With that set to change after the split, Kim Williams, CEO of Australian division News Limited, will face increased pressure and scrutiny from the get-go.
ComSec’s Alice Bennett expects News Corporation stock to be sold off aggressively at the start, creating one of the initial challenges for Williams. Bennett believes the sale will be down to factors that include News Corp.’s exposure to the Australian and New Zealand economies; the fact that publishing reps 53% of earnings; ongoing losses at the Amplify education business and the risk of further litigation in the UK. But, she does allow, “When the dust settles post demerger, we think this vehicle could provide some interesting opportunities for Australian investors given the highly cash-generative pay TV assets and higher-growth online assets.” Fox Sports and Foxtel, of which News Corp. holds 50%, are staying in the publishing fold. The company also owns 61% of realestate.com.au.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Oscar Nominees ‘War Witch’ & ‘Buzkashi Boys’ In LA, New 007 Novel, French Critics ♥ ‘Amour’, & More
‘War Witch’ Actress Granted Visa For Oscars
Rachel Mwanza, who won best actress prizes in Berlin and Tribeca last year for her lead performance in War Witch, has been granted a visa to travel from Congo to North America in order to attend the Oscars on Sunday and other awards shows. War Witch is nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Mwanza was a non-pro when she was discovered living on the streets of Kinshasa and was cast in the movie about a 12-year-old girl who is kidnapped by African rebels, forced to kill her parents at gunpoint and then fight as a child soldier against the government. According to Tribeca Film, which acquired War Witch for North America, the filmmakers continue to provide her with a caregiver and oversee her education. The film is directed by Kim Nguyen is also nominated as Best International Film at Saturday’s Independent Spirit Awards, has 12 nominations for Canadian Screen Awards on March 3 and 9 nominations for Québec’s Jutras on March 17. Tribeca is platforming the film starting March 1 in New York, then March 8 in Los Angeles and in select cities thereafter. It will be available VOD from February 26.
Afghan ‘Buzkashi Boys’ Arrive In LA For Oscars
After an Internet campaign raised money for expenses and Turkish Air Lines donated tickets for them and a shaperone, the two teenage stars of the Oscar-nominated short film from Afghanistan arrived in Los Angeles today. The 28-minute film is the first to be produced by the Afghan Film Project, a non-profit that aims to train filmmakers in Afghanistan. It focuses on two children growing up in Kabul who dream of becoming Buzkashi riders, horsemen who compete in the dangerous Afghan national sport similar to polo in which riders try to carry a headless goat across a goal line. The film earned U.S. director Sam French a nomination for Best Live Action Short Film. Producers said they launched the campaign because they lacked a travel budget for Fawad Mohammadi and Jawanmard Paiz, who will attend the Oscars Sunday night.
‘Pulp’ Director Lines Up ‘Anomaly’
Adam Hamdy, who co-directed Brit indie Pulp, the first feature to premiere on the Xbox platform, has inked a deal for his next film. He’ll write and direct sci-fi thriller Anomaly for L.A.-based production firm Alexander Content and UK-based Dare Productions. Principal photography is scheduled for a September start on the story of a young man who wakes up in the hospital after a terrible car accident and sets out on a quest to discover the truth about what really happened to him. Producers are Alexander Content principal Rick Alexander and UK-based Phil Bland. Exec producers are Syndicate Works principal Pat Nelson and Hamdy. Pic is financed by UK-based accountancy Smith & Williamson.
Foxtel Shuffles Exec Deck
Foxtel Networks Australia announced a series of executive changes on Monday, orchestrated by executive director of television Brian Walsh. The restructure follows the January 1 launch of the Foxtel-branded movies and premium drama channels. Brendon Moo takes the role of general manager, general entertainment channels, responsible for Fox8, Arena, Fox Classics, The Comedy Channel and 111 Hits.
Laurence Olivier’s ‘Macbeth’ Screenplays Unearthed
A British professor has stumbled across Laurence Olivier’s screenplays for a 1950s movie version of Macbeth which were thought to have been lost. The University of Exeter’s Jennifer Barnes was researching Olivier’s film version of Richard III at the British Library’s Laurence Olivier Archive when she came across references to Macbeth scripts. Olivier had tried to mount the filmed version of Shakespeare’s play, but it was shelved due to financing problems. He would and wife Vivien Leigh would have played not only Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, but also two of the three witches, the screenplays reveal. Olivier also planned to cut out the “Is this a dagger I see before me?” line, The Guardian reports. While he was still alive, Olivier contended there were no surviving copies of his screenplay, but Barnes said “I was going through the catalog” of papers acquired by the library from Olivier’s family in 2000, “and I pulled up a script and found it was Macbeth. I didn’t believe it because I knew it wasn’t supposed to exist… I guess the people who cataloged them didn’t know how important they were”. The screenplay ends with a spectacular fight between Macbeth and Macduff. Per The Guardian, Olivier wrote: “Every conceivable trick of fighting that isn’t going to get a laugh must be employed.”
Shine America’s Rich Ross to Keynote at Australian Conference
Rich Ross, recently installed CEO of Shine America, will give the keynote address at the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association conference March 14 in Sydney. Also due to speak are Barney Francis of the UK’s Sky Sports, Discovery Networks Intl. CEO Mark Hollinger, Foxtel Richard Freudenstein, and Viacom Media EVP Colleen Fahey Rush. – Don Groves
Benjamin Millepied To Run Paris Opera Ballet
Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millepied has been named the new director of dance at the Paris Opera Ballet. He will take up his post at the historic Palais Garnier in Paris’ 9th arrondissement beginning September 2014. Millepied, who also danced in Darren Aronofsky’s Oscar-nominated Black Swan and met his wife Natalie Portman on the film, has spent most of his career in the U.S. and founded the L.A. Dance Project last year. He told The New York Times he would continue to work with the experimental group until he and Portman move to Paris. A notoriously intense ballet company, Palais Garnier’s troupe was the focus of a 2001 documentary, Etoiles: Dancers Of The Paris Opera Ballet, directed by Nils Tavernier.
Australia’s Foxtel Rejigs Packages And Pricing
Responding to subscriber complaints that it had reduced its movie channels on January 1 without reducing fees, News Corp.-controlled Foxtel has unveiled new packaging and pricing. More than 1,000 viewers complained on the paybox’s Facebook page after it axed seven channels owned by Warner Bros., Disney, Village Roadshow and MGM. Those channels and the Showtime channels which Foxtel acquired from Sony, NBCUniversal, Fox, Paramount and Liberty Media last October were replaced by six thematic channels and Foxtel Movies Premiere, resulting in four fewer channels. From March 1, the monthly price for the movies and premium drama package and World Movies drops from $A32 ($33.60) to $25, but the basic tier, renamed Essentials, goes up from $45 to $47.
ITV’s ‘Come Dine With Me’ Format In 36 Territories
ITV Studios Global Entertainment has signed multiple deals for its hit format Come Dine With Me including Asia’s first local version of the format to air on Indian broadcaster Star India. The network has commissioned 40 30-minute episodes. The Star India deal brings the total number of international territories producing the show to 36. Additionally, ITV Studios Nordic has been recommissioned to produce a 10th series of 60 episodes by Sweden’s TV4 and a second series of 40 episodes by Nelonen in Finland. Meanwhile, ITV Studios Australia has been recommissioned to produce a fourth (6 x 60’) series for Foxtel’s Lifestyle Channel to air in 2013. The format has also recently re-launched in Turkey on Fox TV and Belgium on Vier 4.
Aeon Buys Out WB Stake In Japan Cinemas
Japanese retail giant Aeon Group will acquire Warner Bros Entertainment’s 50% stake in the Japanese theater circuit Warner Mycal, Film Business Asia reports. A major exhibitor in Japan with 60 theaters and 496 screens, Warner Mycal was launched in 1993 as a partnership of Warner and Aeon, which was known at the time as Mycal. Aeon’s purchase is expected to close in February or March. Aeon separately owns some 70 complexes with 600 screens. Bringing the Warner Mycal theaters under its wholly owned umbrella is expected to make Aeon the largest movie theatre operator in Japan. Current market leader is Toho Cinemas. Aeon did not disclose the value of Warner Mycal. Warner Bros International Cinemas has been a multiplex cinema pioneer, opening more than 170 theatres with almost 1,600 screens in 11 countries including Portugal, Japan, Holland, Italy, China, and Taiwan. Most have been sold to local companies.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
EXCLUSIVE: The Australian Broadcasting Corp. has ordered Old School, an eight-part series about an ex-criminal and an ex-cop who go into business together, from Matchbox Pictures. Global sales outside Australia will be handled by NBCUniversal International, which owns 60% of Matchbox, producers of The Slap, Underground – The Julian Assange Story and The Straits. In the vein of New Tricks, the BBC comedy-drama series about a bunch of retired cops turned sleuths, Old School was created by Paul Oliver and will be executive produced by Matchbox’s Tony Ayres and Helen Panckhurst. Matchbox has a busy slate for 2013 including reality shows The Real Housewives for Foxtel, Formal Wars for the Seven Network, Next Stop Hollywood for ABC, children’s drama Lost Boys for ABC, drama series Return To The Devil’s Playground for Foxtel and Ayres’ theatrical feature Cut Snake, which will star Sullivan Stapleton and Ryan Kwanten.
Foxtel Adds Roadshow to New Unified Movies Service
Roadshow Films, Australia’s largest distributor, has licensed its films to paybox Foxtel’s unified movies service which launches January 1. Roadshow, Disney, Warner Bros and MGM are losing their home on Foxtel on December 31 when their jointly-owned service The Movie Network goes dark. Foxtel refused to renew TMN’s deal as it moves forward with its own service of seven channels after buying the other major movies provider, Showtime, from partners Fox, Paramount, Sony, NBCUniversal and Liberty Media in October. Foxtel said it’s in advanced negotiations with other distributors. A WB deal appears to be imminent.
News Corp’s Australian Arm Plunges Further Into the Red
News Limited incurred an operating loss of $A457.3 million ($482.3 million) after writing down the value of its mastheads by $731. 7 million in fiscal 2012, according to accounts filed with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. That compares with a $201.6 million loss in fiscal 2011 and $300 million in profits in 2010. The Australian company quantified job losses, mostly redundancies, for the first time, revealing the head count fell by 306 to 9,543 in the year to June 30. It reported revenue fell by nearly 10% to $2.65 billion and operating income plunged by 25.3% to $493.6 million as advertising revenues declined “driven by negative consumer sentiment”. Trying to put a positive spin on the numbers, the company pointed to the $1.94 billion acquisition of Consolidated Media Holdings, which owned 25% of paybox Foxtel and 50% of Fox Sports, and online titles Business Spectator and Eureka Report, and said its publishing businesses performed solidly. The company generated $676 million in cash during the fiscal year. – Don Groves.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
EXCLUSIVE: Australians are fast catching the downloading habit, legally. Digital revenues for film and TV content for the first seven months of this year tallied more than $A60 million ($63.2 million) from nearly 12 million transactions, according to the first-ever survey of that sector by IHS. That represents year-on-year growth of 60% and likely means 2012 revenues will top $120 million from 24 million transactions, according to Simon Bush, CEO of the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association, which commissioned the research. The stats reflect VOD and EST sales logged by all major U.S. distributors and Australian independents. VOD accounted for 64% of the transactions and 54% of revenue. The survey covered about 90% of the Australian market but did not provide breakdowns of sales on individual platforms such as iTunes or Foxtel On Demand. AHEDA expects to release full year data in February.