In what sounds like a challenge to ITV’s upcoming Rising Star adaptation, the UK’s Channel 4 is launching a live multi-platform, interactive singing competition, The Singer Takes It All. Endemol UK created the format, which will air in four hourlong parts. Well-known UK TV presenter Alan Carr will host. The weekly primetime game show will see budding singers perform live on a 60-foot-long moving stage while, via a new app, judges at home will rate their performances a ‘hit’ or a ‘miss.’ The results will play out on screen seconds later. If a singer gets a hit rating, they move forward towards the Gold Zone at the front stage to continue their song. But if the majority of viewers judge them a miss, they’re booted backwards off the track — and potentially out of the show. Viewers get up to four votes for each performance with constant voting throughout. The best singer on each show will perform a second time for a shot at an unspecified cash prize. The free app is built by Chunk, incorporating new live-voting technology developed by Tectonic Interactive. No air date has been set.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Rescued ‘Ripper Street’ Filming Season Three’; AMC Networks Ups Elana Mandelup To VP; More
Production Gets Underway For Season 3 Of ‘Ripper Street’
The 3rd season of Ripper Street started shooting today in Manchester, England. Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg are reprising their roles in the Victorian-era drama that was rescued by Amazon Prime Instant Video after a fan petition for its return after the BBC cancelled the show. MyAnna Buring (Downton Abbey) also is returning. In February, Amazon commissioned producers Tiger Aspect and Lookout Point with an eight-episode third season that will be available exclusively to Amazon Prime Instant Video members in the fall. The complete first season of Ripper Street is available on Amazon Prime now, with season 2 launching on the service on June 2. The series is filming in the UK for the first time, in Manchester and Loughborough, before moving to its traditional production base in Dublin, Ireland. It will continue to be co-produced in the U.S. by BBC America and will screen on BBC One a few months after it is available on Amazon in the UK. BBC Worldwide is distributing globally.
SundanceTV has boarded the Danny Boyle-directed Babylon. The network said today it is co-producing with UK’s Channel 4 six new TV format episodes which will air on Sundance in 2015. FX had been exploring joining the comedy-drama series, which is set inside a modern London police force in desperate need of a spruced-up public image. Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, Trainspotting) executive produces with Robert Jones (The Usual Suspects, Dirty Pretty Things) and Derrin Schlesinger (Southcliffe, Four Lions) producing. Brit Marling (Another Earth, Sound Of My Voice) and James Nesbitt (The Hobbit, Millions) star. Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show, The Old Guys, Fresh Meat), penned the script. The feature-length pilot aired on Channel 4 in the UK earlier this year with the series set to air on the UK broadcaster this fall.
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.
Britain’s Channel 4 is embellishing its strategy with a new purview to invest in international drama co-productions. The net, which already invests in original British drama as well as boundary-pushing factual entertainment, is joining the likes of ITV, the BBC and Sky in its bid to spread its wings. To spearhead the initiative, former Red Arrow Entertainment Head of Drama & Comedy, Simon Maxwell, is joining Channel 4 in the newly created role of Head of International Drama. Maxwell launched the Red Arrow Group’s UK scripted operation and has worked with U.S. broadcasters including NBC and History Channel. Prior to Red Arrow, he was Head of Film & TV at indie Greenroom Entertainment where he ran a slate that included DirecTV crime drama Rogue. He also exec produced feature Killing Bono, for which he co-wrote the screenplay. Channel 4′s move towards international co-pros should see it benefit from the high-end TV tax credit that has electrified the local production sector and attracted U.S. projects over the past year. Maxwell will be responsible for commissioning a slate of high quality, ambitious drama with international appeal. Among the channel’s recent local commissions are Babylon, for which Danny Boyle directed the pilot, and mystery/sci-fi series Utopia. Its U.S. and European pick-ups include upcoming series Fargo, France’s The Returned, Showtime’s Homeland, comedy Brooklyn Nine Nine and new Norwegian thriller Mammon .
The Danny Boyle-directed pilot for comedy-drama series Babylon centers on a London police force in desperate need of a spruced-up public image. Brit Marling stars as Liz Garvey, a new-media savvy American brought in to revolutionize the force’s PR department; James Nesbitt plays Chief Constable Richard Miller. BAFTA winners Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong wrote the pilot and a further six episodes have been ordered by the UK’s Channel 4 for production this year. Boyle is exec producing with Robert Jones, Armstrong and Bain. The director is keeping busy in TV on both sides of the Atlantic; he’s also teamed with FX and his Slumdog Millionaire collaborator Simon Beaufoy on World War II miniseries Telemark. The Babylon pilot airs on Channel 4 on February 9. There’s no word yet on a U.S. deal, but below is a taste of what the show will look like.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Channel 4 Orders Comedy Pilot ‘Catastrophe’; Endemol Invests In Social Casino Gaming Firm; More
Channel 4 Orders Comedy Pilot From Rob Delaney, Sharon Horgan
The UK’s Channel 4 has commissioned the pilot Catastrophe from Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan. The pair will write and star in the single-camera comedy about an Irish woman and an American man who make a bloody mess as they struggle to fall in love in London. Catastrophe is an Avalon Production for Channel 4. Adam Tandy will serve as a non-writing producer with Avalon Television UK producing. Delaney won the award for “Funniest Person on Twitter” at the Comedy Central Comedy Awards. His television credits include Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, Fuel TV’s The Daily Habit, and the pilot Movie Nook for TBS. Delaney is repped by Kara Baker at Avalon Management, WME and CAA Touring.
Endemol Bets $13M On Social Casino Gaming Company Plumbee
Endemol said today that it has invested $13 million in social casino gaming company Plumbee. The digital start-up’s existing investor, Idinvest Partners, also participated in this round. The deal values the business at $40 million. Launched in 2011, Plumbee creates, operates and markets free-to-play online and mobile games on social networks. The two companies will create premium social casino games, exploiting Endemol’s global entertainment brands and building on Plumbee’s worldwide user base.
Danny Boyle is keeping busy in TV these days. In the U.S., he’s teamed with FX and his Slumdog Millionaire writer and producer Simon Beaufoy and Christian Colson for 10-part WWII miniseries Telemark. Closer to home, he’s readying a pilot for Channel 4‘s straight-to-series police comedy/drama Babylon. BAFTA winners Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong are scripting the pilot which Boyle will direct. Brit Marling (Another Earth, Arbitrage) has now been cast in the lead as Liz Garvey, a new-media savvy American who’s parachuted in to revolutionize the PR department of London’s police force. James Nesbitt (The Hobbit) plays Chief Constable Richard Miller. Also in the ensemble cast are Paterson Joseph (Peep Show), Jill Halfpenny (EastEnders), Adam Deacon (Kidulthood), Daniel Kaluuya, Jonny Sweet, Andrew Brooke and Bertie Carvel. Described as “razor-sharp and visually audacious,” Babylon takes a wry look at the people and politics in the command rooms and on the frontlines of a modern police force, as it attempts to uphold the peace under constant scrutiny. The pilot shoots this fall for an early 2014 airdate and a further six episodes have been ordered for production in 2014. Boyle is exec producing with Robert Jones (The Usual Suspects), Armstrong and Bain. Producers are Jones and Derrin Schlesinger. Marling is repped by CAA, Nesbitt is repped …
Global Showbiz Briefs: UK, Australia Set ‘Homeland’ Season Bows; Travel Channel Orders Jonathan Phang Series; More
UK, Australia Won’t Wait Long For Season 3 Of ‘Homeland’
The UK’s Channel 4 has set an October 6 start for Season 3 of Homeland. The show airs at 9 PM and will get to Britain one week after its U.S. debut on Showtime on September 29. Meanwhile, folks in Australia will get to stream the first episode online while it’s airing in the States. Oz newspaper The Age says that Network Ten is using the stunt to launch its new streaming platform, tenplay. Ten will stream the episode from 2.15 PM Sydney time on Monday, September 30, to any internet user in Australia. That’s 9:15 PM Sunday night in LA, so the show will be on a 15-minute delay. So far the experiment only covers the first episode with the broadcaster waiting to gauge response before making plans for further first-run streaming. The regular season is planned for 8:30 PM Mondays.
Travel Channel Orders ‘Jonathan Phang’s Gourmet Express’
Travel Channel has commissioned new six-part series, Jonathan Phang’s Gourmet Express. The cooking show will follow Phang as he journeys on some of the world’s most iconic trains, including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and the Eastern & Orient Express, for a series of culinary adventures. Each episode will feature stops along the route to explore different foods and cultures. The series premieres in February and rolls out on Food Network in various markets later in the year. Transparent Television produces.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Amelia Pulsford Joins Sharp UK; CNBC’s ‘The Edge’ Looks For Tech’s Next Big Thing; More
Amelia Pulsford Tapped As Director Of Content at Sharp UK
Amelia Pulsford has been named director of content for the newly formed London branch of Core Media‘s Sharp Entertainment. Reality producer Sharp, whose credits include Man V. Food, Extreme Couponing, Bad Ink and Doomsday Preppers, is launching Sharp UK to expand into the competitive European space. Pulsford previously worked for Sharp Entertainment in the U.S. as a producer on Fortune Diggers and Punkin Chunkin, among others. She has also been a producer on Bear Grylls: Escape From Hell and Car Vs. Wild for Discovery International. She will work closely with American Idol parent CORE Media’s UK-based international team.
CNBC’s ‘The Edge’ Focuses On Long-Term Tech Investments
CNBC is launching a new half-hour series looking at long-term investment opportunities created by today’s technological innovations. The Edge will be fronted by network reporters including Ross Westgate, Martin Song, Karen Tso and Carolin Roth, who will travel to various locales to find “the next big thing”. The monthly show debuts September 25 across CNBC in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the U.S. It will be produced and edited from CNBC’s London regional HQ and be complemented by special reports on CNBC.com.
Iran Reopens Its Film Industry Body After 20 Months
Iran has reopened the House of Cinema, its main film industry guild. The move comes nearly two years after it was closed, the BBC reported, citing state news agency Irna. Per the report, Deputy Culture Minister Hojatollah Ayoubi said the decision indicates new President Hassan Rouhani’s support for films. The January 2012 closure of the body was decried by prominent filmmakers, including Oscar nominee Asghar Farhadi (A Separation). At a reopening ceremony, Ayoubi reportedly said, “When a cultural issue — like the one about the House of Cinema — becomes a political one, that is (because) the situation was not managed properly.”
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Smaug’ Score Recording Locks Down Town Hall; Martin Scorsese Tops Marrakech Fest Jury; More
Wellington Residents Can’t Access Town Hall During ‘Smaug’ Recording
New Zealand website Stuff reports that the people of Wellington have “essentially lost access” to the Town Hall while the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra records the score for the The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. Last month, the orchestra cancelled a planned tour so it could work on music for the film. In a public notice this week, the Wellington City Council said “strict security” was in place at the Town Hall until the end of October and that there would be no public access during this time. Anyone with meeting with the mayor’s office will have to be escorted in after checking in at another location, the report said.
Martin Scorsese Set As President of Marrakech Film Fest Jury
Martin Scorsese will be president of the jury for the 13th edition of the Marrakech Film Festival, organizers said today. Scorsese has a long history with Morocco having shot parts of The Last Temptation Of Christ and Kundun in the Atlas Film Studios in Ouarzazate. In 2005, he was honored by the Marrakech Festival with the Al Kafaa al Fikrya Award, acknowledging intellectual merit. Scorsese has also previously attended the festival to present films and give a masterclass. The festival runs November 29-December 7.
‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ To Bow In UK Three Days After U.S. …
Danny Boyle is turning to television with Channel 4 pilot Babylon. The UK network says BAFTA winners Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong are scripting the pilot. Their credits include TV series Fresh Meat and Peep Show, and the feature Four Lions. Boyle is producing and will direct. Details are being kept under wraps, but the series is said to be a contemporary police drama. The pilot will air in 2014 with casting underway for production later this year. Boyle previously collaborated with Channel 4’s Film4 on his Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Channel 4 Picks Up U.S. Series; San Sebastian To Premiere ‘Young And Prodigious Mr Spivet’; More
Channel 4 Imports ‘Hostages’, ’100′, ‘Tomorrow People’, ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’
Britain’s Channel 4 has acquired a quartet of U.S. shows that will air in early 2014, including three from Warner Bros International Television: Hostages will air on Channel 4, while The 100 and The Tomorrow People will air on sister channel E4. Also coming to Channel4 is Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., the new series from Marvel Television and ABC Studios. It premieres on C4 in the fall, soon after its ABC launch in the U.S. In a new commission, C4 has ordered Making Liberty, a three-part series based around the luxe Regent Street department store. Rize USA is producing the series that focuses on the store as it preps for the Christmas season. It will air in the fall.
‘The Young And Prodigious Mr Spivet’ Premiere Will Close San Sebastian
Amélie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s latest film, The Young And Prodigious Mr Spivet is set to world premiere at the San Sebastian Film Festival. It will close the proceedings on September 28. Helena Bonham Carter, Judy Davis, Kyle Catlett, Callum Keith Rennie, Robert Maillet and Dominique Pinon star. Gaumont backed the 3D movie about a 12-year-old child prodigy who lives on a ranch in Montana. His great talent for cartography and inventions soon is rewarded. A scientific institute announces that he has won a prestigious award, and he sets out across the country to collect it. The Weinstein Co. acquired the pic in Cannes.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Channel 4 Faces Airline Lawsuit, Primps For ‘Real Sex’; UK Bans Bruce Willis — Sort Of; More
Channel 4 Threatened With Lawsuit Over Ryanair Report
In the past year, the BBC has been the subject of harsh criticism — and legal action — over some of its reporting. Now it’s Channel 4‘s turn. A report by the network’s news program Dispatches has flown in the face of low-cost airline Ryanair, marking the second time in seven years the pair have butted heads. The investigative show’s Monday episode included concerns from unidentified pilots over the airline’s fuel policy and safety measures. Ryanair now says it plans to sue. “Ryanair has instructed its lawyers to issue legal proceedings against Channel 4 Dispatches for defamation,” the no-frills airline said. The program highlighted three occasions in which Ryanair pilots called in emergency alerts because they were low on fuel. Ryanair says the incidents occurred because of bad weather and that EU regulations were met in each case. The Dublin-based carrier serves 30 countries in Europe and North Africa. In 2006, it was the subject of a separate Dispatches report, “Ryanair Caught Napping,” which criticized its safety, training and hygiene practices. Ryanair denied the allegations. Channel 4 told Deadline today, “We stand by our journalism.”
‘Real Sex Season’ Coming To Channel 4
In other Channel 4 news, the network says it wants to be “very un-British and talk about what really goes on in Britain’s bedrooms.” To do so, it’s planning a thematic series of shows to form the Real Sex Season beginning in September. The focus will be the effect that pornography is having on people’s expectations of sex. Included among the new shows are Porn On The Teenage Brain, a study of the impact of readily-available, explicit content on adolescents; The Week The Women Came, produced by ITV’s The Garden, about a group of women on a mission to confront loss of libido; and Date My Porn Star, which gives three porn-obsessed men the chance to meet and date their favorite adult movie stars to see if they can distinguish between the fantasy and the reality.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Channel 4 Debuts UK’s First Mobile Catch-Up Service; Second INTV Conference Set For November
Channel 4 Debuts UK’s First Mobile Catch-Up Service
Channel 4 has become the first commercial UK broadcaster to offer a free offline mobile catch-up service. The ad-supported service allows viewers in Britain the opportunity to download shows to their mobile devices. Registered viewers will have access to content for 30 days after shows air and once downloaded, they will have up to seven days to complete viewing before the content auto-expires. Nissan is a sponsor.
Second INTV Conference Set For November
The Keshet Media Group is planning its second INTV conference which will run November 4 and 5 in Jerusalem. The focus will be on the convergence of innovation and technology in the TV industry. Speakers will include Hulu Head of Content Acquisition Alex Kruglov; Lionsgate COO of Television Sandra Stern; Channel 4 Head of Entertainment Justin Gorman; producer Caryn Mandabach; David Eilenberg, SVP Unscripted Development at TBS and TNT; WME’s Rick Rosen; and Keshet UK’s Sara Johnson and Amelia Hann. The event is hosted by Keshet CEO Avi Nir.
In what will be the first fully-subtitled drama to air on the UK’s Channel 4 in 20 years, the net has acquired premiere broadcast rights to French supernatural series Les Revenants. Zodiak is handling international sales on the thriller that was produced by Haut et Court for Canal Plus and originally aired to record numbers last fall. The show, re-titled Rebound in the UK, centers on a group of people in a small Alpine village who find themselves in a state of confusion, trying to return to their homes. What they don’t yet know is that they’ve been dead for several years, and no one is expecting them back. Fabrice Gobert created the show based on the 2004 feature Les Revenants by Robin Campillo. Anne Consigny, Clotilde Hesme, Celine Sallette, Frederic Pierrot, Samir Guesmi and Guillaume Gouix star.
The UK is no stranger to subtitled fare – BBC Four airs such imported shows as Sweden’s Wallander, Denmark’s Borgen and Italy’s Inspector Montalbano. But the Rebound deal marks the second time in recent months that there’s been cross-Channel collaboration on a series. Sky Atlantic and Canal Plus started shooting last month on The Tunnel, the 10-part bilingual English-French adaptation of Scandinavian cop series The Bridge.
Derek, Ricky Gervais’ comedy series about a naively simple middle-aged man who works in a nursing home, has been renewed by Britain’s Channel 4. The show’s first season finishes its run on March 6 with the early episodes drawing an average 2.1M viewers for a 9.9% share. Six new half hours have been ordered. In September, it was announced that Netflix had acquired the show for the U.S. where it will be made available later this year. Gervais calls the show “probably my favorite thing of everything I’ve done.” In Britain last year, there were concerns that the series mocked disabled people, but Gervais denied he was poking fun and noted, “The real risk with this is the people who don’t watch it and make assumptions. The idea that (Derek) is cruel follows you around. But some people don’t get it and some people don’t like it. Hopefully, there will be enough people who find it.” Last week, Gervais said he was bringing back his original Office character, David Brent, in a new mini-episode for the UK’s Red Nose Day telethon on March 15.
Channel 4 film and drama controller Tessa Ross heads up Film4, the feature division of the network that’s given a boost to such filmmakers as Stephen Daldry, Steve McQueen, Paddy Considine, Martin McDonagh and Richard Ayoade. Sometimes referred to as the “Mother of British filmmaking,” her recent exec producer credits include Seven Psycopaths, The Iron Lady and Shame. She’ll receive the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the BAFTA Film Awards ceremony on February 10. Among Film4′s upcoming productions are Danny Boyle’s Trance, Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man, Ayoade’s The Double, Michael Winterbottom’s The Look Of Love and Kevin Macdonald’s How I Live Now. On the TV side, such series as Shameless, White Teeth and The Devil’s Whore have been commissioned during her tenure. Earlier in her career, Ross worked at the BBC and was a British Film Institute governor.