BBC Worldwide has apologized for recent leaks of scripts and footage from the new series of Doctor Who. The commercial arm of the broadcaster said a damaging “mistake” resulted in the exposure of five scripts and the first six unfinished episodes from Series 8 on a publicly accessible FTP site. It thanked fans for their efforts at helping to contain the leaks and said it has put in place a plan using new technology and internal manpower to limit any illegal activity. “BBC Worldwide has taken this issue extremely seriously and disciplinary action has been implemented as a result of the incident,” it added, and offered “sincere apologies” to showrunner Steven Moffat, the cast and the production team. Doctor Who returns on August 23 with Peter Capaldi as the latest incarnation of the Time Lord.
Entertainment One has acquired Canadian factual programming producer Paperny Entertainment from partners David Paperny, Cal Shumiatcher and Audrey Mehler. With the acquisition, Canadian giant eOne says it intends to ramp up its activity in unscripted television production across North America. Vancouver-based Paperny also has operations in Toronto and New York. It has produced over 500 hours of programming since its inception in 1994. The company is expected to deliver a further 80 hours of original programming this year. Its recent and returning shows include Timber Kings (HGTV), Cold Water Cowboys (Discovery Channel Canada), Yukon … Read More »
In a further push into China’s entertainment sphere, e-commerce giant Alibaba has pacted with Lionsgate to launch Lionsgate Entertainment World, a subscription streaming service for the mainland. The service will be available exclusively through Alibaba’s set-top boxes and will give users access to high-profile Lionsgate titles including Divergent (which has not had a theatrical release in China), pics from the Twilight and Hunger Games franchises, and TV series The Royals, Nashville and Mad Men. The deal gives Lionsgate bigger exposure in the fast-growing Chinese market where many consumers watch content online — which has traditionally flown lower under the radar of the Middle Kingdom’s famous censors. Alibaba filed for a U.S. IPO earlier this year and recently took a majority stake in ChinaVision Media Group, now Alibaba Pictures Group, as part of its bid to expand. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company has also recently approached Chinese film studios about creating or acquiring content for its online service, and that it is eyeing further investment in local studios. Launch of Lionsgate Entertainment World is expected next month. David U. Lee, founder and president of Leeding Media, helped orchestrate the agreement. Read More »
ITV Studios UK has moved quickly to fill the Managing Director post that will be vacated by Denise O’Donoghue at the end of 2014. Julian Bellamy, who is currently Discovery Networks International Creative Director and Head of Commissioning, will take over from O’Donoghue later this year, ITV said today. TV veteran O’Donoghue has been MD at ITV Studios UK for four years and will remain on the board of the country’s largest commercial production company after stepping down. Bellamy has spent three years at Discovery, running production and development across 200 countries, with commissioning teams in five international bases. Prior to DNI, he ran the UK’s Channel 4, managing over 2,000 hours of original programming per year including Undercover Boss, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and One Born Every Minute. He previously held executive posts at the BBC and E4. ITV Studios’ titles include Mr Selfridge, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Breathless and the upcoming Thunderbirds Are Go! The production arm of ITV is one of the biggest growth areas for the group, which has been on a U.S. and UK shopping spree in the past 18 months.
XYZ Films has joined Spanish-language actioner Redeemer as executive producer and sales agent. The movie, Redentor in Spanish, stars Chile’s Marko Zaror (Expendables 2, Machete Kills). He’s teaming for the fourth time with writer director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza. This time around, the story follows a former hitman who has made a deal with God: Every day he will hold a gun to his own head and pull the trigger; each time he does not die, he will take it as a sign that he is meant to continue hunting down the men he used to work for. Principal photography starts on March 24 in Chile. Zaror is a highly trained martial artist across multiple disciplines who performs all of his own fight and stunt work without any wires or CGI tricks. Espinoza recently was editor on Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno and his credits as director also include Kiltro, The ABCs Of Death anthology and Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman. Espinoza, Zaror and Diego Moral Heimpell are producers. Read More »
JB Perrette joined Discovery in 2011 as Chief Digital Officer. He’s since spearheaded the acquisitions of Revision3 and DeFranco Creative, as well as the launches of digital/online networks Animalist and TestTube, and the implementation of Skywire Live and Animal Planet L!VE, among other initiatives. The exec will replace Mark Hollinger who is resigning as president of Discovery Networks International after 23 years at the company. Perrette, who’s also a veteran of NBCUniversal, will oversee Discovery’s growing international business. Last year, the company acquired SBS Nordics and a 20% stake in Eurosport as well as launching TLC in the UK and growing overseas ratings by 25%. Perrette’s appointment comes two weeks after Discovery extended chief David Zaslav’s contract through 2019. Click over for full details of today’s news: Read More »
Discovery doesn’t just document ship disasters (See last month’s Raising Concordia), it documents new-ship building. Discovery Networks International in partnership with Maersk Line, announced this morning it will follow the creation of what’s being billed as the world’s biggest ship, from design to maiden voyage, in a brand new series premiering across Discovery’s international portfolio of networks. Initially premiering in the UK, the project, coincidentally called World’s Biggest Ship, will roll out internationally in more than 220 countries and territories across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America beginning this month. Read More »
A lavish event promoting Discovery Networks International‘s new Bear Grylls survival series Escape From Hell went up in flames Wednesday night — sort of. As part of the stunt, Grylls rappelled down the side of London’s historic Battersea Power Station. As he did so, flames were projected onto the side of the landmark building. The flames were evidently so lifelike that a witness put in an emergency call summoning the London fire brigade. Once on the scene, firefighters said they “quickly realized it wasn’t an incident for us.” Discovery is launching the show on the Discovery Channel in 224 markets. It kicks off in the UK on October 7, now with a little extra promotional heat. Here’s a video:
Discovery, Animal Planet Partner On ‘Killer Islands’
Discovery Networks International and Animal Planet have teamed up for Killer Islands (working title). The original six-part series, described as a natural history documentary with an investigative twist, follows wildfire expert Dave Salmoni as he sets out to solve some of the last big mysteries surrounding the world’s most successful natural-born killers. Killer Islands will premiere on Discovery Channel internationally in 224 countries and territories across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America beginning spring 2014, and on Animal Planet U.S. in the summer of 2014. Killer Islands is a co-production between DNI and Animal Planet U.S. and produced by Silverback Films. Read More »
Natasha Pilbrow Joins PeaPie Films Biz/Legal Department
Kris Thykier’s PeaPie Films has added Natasha Pilbrow as head of business affairs and legal. Pilbrow was formerly with the film division of entertainment law firm Lee & Thompson LLP. London-based PeaPie is in preproduction on Stephen Daldry’s Trash and also is producing serial killer thriller Repent and Asif Kapadia’s Ali And Nino. Thykier’s credits include Kick-Ass, I Give It A Year and the upcoming One Chance.
Tim Bevan Will Mentor England’s Hurricane Films
Liverpool-based Hurricane Films is getting a new mentor in the form of Working Title co-founder Tim Bevan. A mentor initiative run by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, brings top industry professionals together with creative businesses to help encourage growth. Bevan will lend his expertise to Hurricane and will consult on the development of two new films from Terence Davies: Sunset Song starring Agyness Deyn and Peter Mullan and A Quiet Passion with Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson. “The Hurricane team is so passionate about original storytelling that I’m delighted to act as a mentor in the development of its projects,” Bevan said. “I hope to not only inspire Hurricane further but offer them real guidance, support and encouragement throughout our 12 months together.” Hurricane was co-founded by Sol Papadopoulos and Roy Boulter. The pair received a BAFTA nomination for producing Davies’ Of Time And The City.
Arjan Hoekstra Tops Asia-Pacific For Discovery … Read More »
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Keshet International‘s UK office has hired producer Amelia Hann as head of unscripted programming to oversee a new factual production venture. Hann was most recently executive producer on Channel 4’s The Undateables and her other credits include the BAFTA winning Ross Kemp On Gangs, Wife Swap USA, Baby Bible Bashers, Scrapheap Challenge/Junkyard Wars and The Hunt For Britain’s Sex Traffickers. Read More »
Discovery Networks says it has invested “millions” in the UK and Ireland launch of TLC which will go live on April 30. The channel will be available on the Sky, Virgin Media and BT platforms and also on the TalkTalk Player from YouView. The new TLC will incorporate U.S. originals like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo which it will launch into the UK and also add original British series to the mix.
Discovery Networks Europe has entered a deal with ITV Studios Global Entertainment for docu-series Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan. The eight-part show is produced by Cream/Wildfire and premiered on BBC America last night. It will air across Europe beginning with Animal Planet Nordics on February 7, followed by Animal Planet Russia and Romania. The travel-adventure series follows former Lost star Monaghan as he encounters some of the world’s most dangerous and elusive creatures. Monaghan recently told a TCA panel that he was inspired to do the show after the death of “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin. The show “is a love letter” to what Irwin “achieved and the television shows he left behind,” Monaghan said.
DNI Makes Deena Edwards SVP Global Branded Solutions
Discovery Networks International has named Deena Edwards SVP of global branded solutions. Edwards is an 18-year Discovery veteran who has worked in everything from sales to marketing and education. In 2010, she was promoted to SVP of integrated content for Discovery Channel and Science Channel. Her new role will see her spearhead the construction of global and regional branded entertainment solutions for advertising clients across original productions, digital media and Discovery Enterprises Intl. She’s based at Discovery HQ in Silver Spring, MD. Read More »