TruTV has ordered a 10-episode fifth season of its unscripted series Black Gold to air this winter. Produced by Thom Beers’ FremantleMedia-owned Original Prods., Black Gold follows roughneck crews in the oil fields of Texas. Black Gold is coming off its most watched season to date – it averaged 1.6 million viewers in Season 4.
‘Black Gold’ Will Open Doha Tribeca Film Festival
The premiere of Tarak Ben Ammar’s Black Gold will kick off the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, organizers said today. Backers of the film, billed as the biggest ever produced in the Middle East, also said that James Horner (Titanic, Avatar) had recently completed the score at London’s Abbey Road Studios. Warner Bros and Universal Pictures are set to release the film globally on November 23. The festival runs Oct. 25-29.
Study: Cable Revenues, Usage On The Rise In Europe
Europeans seem to be resisting the cord-cutting trend, or maybe they just haven’t gotten around to it. The European cable market continued to expand in 2010, with revenue throughout the E.U. rising by nearly 8% for the year on the strength of double-digit growth in digital TV, broadband and telephony subscribers, according to a new study from IHS. Guy Bisson, TV research director for IHS, said that the results show “that cord cutting doesn’t mean the end of the world. Strong increases in E.U. cable, Internet and telephony subscribers are more than compensating for increasing competition in the cable television business.” The number of individual subscribers rose above the 100 million level for the first time, reaching 101.1 million in 2010.
TruTV, which has been on a ratings upswing, got an additional boost last month when it launched its first high-profile sports franchise, sharing with TNT, TBS and CBS the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship coverage. At its second annual upfront today, the network announced a slew of series renewals and projects in development. The network has renewed Hardcore Pawn and Black Gold for a fourth season, Full Throttle Saloon for a third season and has ordered additional episodes from freshman Lizard Lick Towing, a spinoff of All Worked Up. Additionally, truTV has picked off-network rights to ABC’s reality series Wipeout to start airing in the fall. Here is a list of TruTV’s projects in development, including shows from NFL Films and producers Tony and Ridley Scott and Jennifer Lopez:
Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communications has brought the Doha Film Institute aboard as a co-producer of Black Gold, the Jean-Jacques Annaud-directed feature that began production in Tunisia on October 18. DFI, making its first foray into a major international feature production, will provide a mix of equity, services and locations. Even though the $55 million picture is directed by a French helmer, Black Gold is shaping up to be groundbreaking for a film that is back by Arabs with subject matter about them. An adaptation of the Hans Reusch novel The Great Thirst, Black Gold stars Antonio Banderas, Tahar Rahim, Mark Strong, Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed and Liya Kebede. The drama is about the rivalry between two Emirs in Arabia in the 1930s, just as oil is being discovered, and the rise of a young dynamic leader who unites the various tribes of the desert kingdoms. The film is being earmarked for Christmas, 2011 release, and Warner Bros has signed on to distribute in France, UK, Latin America and the Middle East, while Universal Pictures International will release it in Germany and Spain and Quinta’s Eagle Pictures has Italy.
Warner Bros and Universal are sharing territories on Tunisian entrepreneur Tarak Ben Ammar’s next feature Black Gold. The story revolves around the rivalry between Arabian rulers in the 1930s just as oil is being discovered, and the rise of a young, dynamic leader who unites the various tribes of the desert kingdoms. Filming begins in Tunisia on October 18, with shooting taking place in Ben Ammar’s Empire Studios and on location in Tunisia. Tahar Rahim (A Prophet), Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes), Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Riz Ahmed and Liya Kebede star along with Banderas. Jean-Jacques Annaud (Enemy at the Gate, Seven Years In Tibet) will direct, based on the screenplay by Menno Meyjes (Empire of the Sun, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). Warner will distribute in France, the UK, Latin America and the Middle East. Universal Pictures International (UPI) is releasing the film in Germany and Spain. Quinta Communications’ Eagle Pictures is handling distribution in Italy. Quinta says remaining territories are being finalised for a worldwide Christmas 2011 release. Ben Ammar, who sits on the board of The Weinstein Company, most recently co-produced Rachid Bouchareb’s Outside the Law.