FremantleMedia just announced to staff this morning that CEO of FremantleMedia International, David Ellender, has decided to leave the company. Ellender joined the TV giant 12 years ago and has been global CEO of the group’s commercial arm for the past six. Of his departure to “pursue new challenges,” Fremantle CEO Cécile Frot-Coutaz said, “David played a significant role in shaping and growing FremantleMedia into one of the world’s leading independent media companies. We would like to thank him for his vision, leadership and the huge contribution he has made to the company. We wish him continued success in all his future endeavours.” A new head of FremantleMedia International will be announced “in due course.”
Talpa International and Endemol International veteran Diana Buddingh will move into her new role as FremantleMedia‘s director of global entertainment production on October 1. She’ll be based in London and will be responsible for the brand management and global roll-out of all Fremantle’s non-scripted formats including the Idol, Got Talent and X Factor franchises. Buddingh will manage all commercial, talent and third party relationships and will work closely with director of global entertainment development, Rob Clark, on the pipeline and roll-out of key developments.
FremantleMedia and Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment are hitting a milestone with the latest local adaptation of their Got Talent format. In what the companies claim is a record for a talent show, the franchise will launch its 55th version in Afghanistan in the fall. Afghanistan’s Got Talent will air on 1TV Media, a privately-owned commercial station based in Kabul. It’s understood that Afghan stars will make up the judging panel, but a UK media report suggests that foreign military troops serving in the area may be eligible to audition. Per Fremantle and Syco, further local Got Talent iterations are on the way. Got Talent Brasil and Kazakhstan’s Got Talent are among recent launches. In the UK, Britain’s Got Talent is coming off a strong season 7 and the U.S.’ America’s Got Talent is in its 8th go-round. That version has been sold to 180 countries.
EXCLUSIVE: FremantleMedia North America COO Donna Redier Linsk has opted not to renew her contract. Redier Linsk will exit the company in July and segue into a new role as a consultant at FMNA’s Fox series American Idol until December. Chief Operating Officer was a new position established by FMNA in 2009 when Redier Linsk was brought in by then-CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz from Fox Broadcasting, where she had been SVP Business Affairs and Alternative Production for five years. At FMNA, Redier Linsk oversaw production, finance, business and legal affairs for all of the company’s entertainment programming and was actively involved in day-to-day production of American Idol, The X Factor and America’s Got Talent. FMNA is expected to name a replacement. “I want to thank Donna for the contribution she made to our business over the last four years,” said Frot-Coutaz, now CEO of parent company FremantleMedia. “She brought us her relentless rigor, business acumen, passion for production and incredible dedication. I will miss her dearly.” Added FMNA CEO Thom Beers, “Donna is an amazing talent.”
Burbank, CA – FremantleMedia North America (FMNA) has named Craig Cegielski to the newly created position of Executive Vice President, Scripted Programming and Development. The announcement was made today by Thom Beers, CEO, FremantleMedia North America to whom Cegielski reports. Stefanie Berk has also joined the company as Senior Vice President, Scripted Programming and Development, reporting to Cegielski.
Mosey Upped To Editorial Director At BBC
The BBC has appointed Roger Mosey as editorial director. He’ll oversee the BBC’s editorial standards and handle major editorial issues as they arise in the new role that’s being created following a series of scandals that have hit the pubcaster in the past several months. Said BBC director general Tony Hall, “It is crucial that the BBC dedicates the right amount of time, skill and expertise to addressing the myriad of editorial challenges that we face across the BBC’s output.” Mosey was instrumental in the BBC’s coverage of the London Olympics last year and also will be charged with overseeing the planning of significant pan-BBC events.
Fremantle Sweden Taps Kalsson-Lamm As Managing Director
FremantleMedia has named Magnus Karlsson-Lamm as managing director of its Swedish production arm, FremantleMedia Sweden AB. He will start the job in September and be responsible for managing all development and production operations in Sweden. The exec previously was acting head of entertainment and deputy head of the program department at Swedish broadcaster TV4. He began his career as a host for Sweden’s SVT and also has been an executive producer on the Swedish versions of the Idol and Let’s Dance formats.
FremantleMedia International is continuing its push into event drama with a six-hour miniseries based on the true story of T.E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence Of Arabia. Roland Emmerich will produce with Marc Frydman. Author Michael Korda, who wrote 2010′s Hero: The Life And Legend Of Lawrence Of Arabia, is historical consultant on the project. British screenwriter Clive Bradley will write. The as-yet untitled series plans to follow the journey of British Army officer Lawrence during World War I. Lawrence was an exceptional diplomat who was an invaluable resource for both Britain and the Arab insurgents he fought with in the war against the Ottoman Empire. He was also the subject of David Lean’s classic 1962 Oscar-winning film. Fremantle’s move into scripted programming began in 2009. Among its current projects under development are Joan Of Arc story The Maid, with Craig Pearce and Pukeko Pictures as well as a Berlin-based drama series project inspired by the book Hitlerland with writer-producer Marshall Herskovitz.
MIPTV Briefs: ITV Studios Nabs ‘Poirot’ Pre-Sales; Fremantle Shops ‘Blake’s 7′; KidsCo Acquires ‘Matt Hatter Chronicles’; Venevision International & More
Refresh for latest…
ITV Studios Global Entertainment has secured pre-sales for the 13th and final series of ITV Studios’ iconic detective drama Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Based on crime writer Agatha Christie’s famous novels, series 13 of Poirot has been acquired by eight broadcasters worldwide: TMC (France), ABC (Australia), Prime (New Zealand), Chungwa (Taiwan), Latvian Television, RTV (Slovenia), HRT (Croatia), Sanoma (Hungary) and Digiturk (Turkey). WGBH in the US will co- produce and air two of the Poirot films – The Big Four and Dead Man’s Folly. The deals were brokered by David Wilcox, VP North West Cluster; Jennifer Ebell, VP South East Cluster; Nancy Wang, Senior Sales Executive, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan; Dan Edwards, Senior Sales Executive, Australia and Jemma Losh, Sales Executive, New Zealand for ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
MIPTV Briefs: Fremantle & ‘Half The Sky’; HBO Europe’s ‘Burning Bush’; Content TV’s ‘Facing The Atlantic’
FremantleMedia has acquired global distribution rights to the follow-up to Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity. Inspired by the books of Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the first series followed the authors and a host of celebrity advocates on a journey across 10 countries to showcase stories of female resilience in the face of adversity. The new untitled series will be set in the Americas and airs in the U.S. on PBS in late 2014. Maro Chermayeff, Jamie Gordon, Jeff Dupre, Mira Chang and Joshua Bennett are exec producing the program from Show of Force Productions.
Germany’s Beta Film will handle international sales on HBO Europe’s three-part mini The Burning Bush. Directed by Agnieszka Holland and based on real events, the series follows the plight of Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in protest of the Soviet occupation of Prague in 1969, and his family’s legal fight to clear his name. HBO Europe’s most ambitious project to date, the series had a successful rollout across Europe this year. It’s based on a script by Stephen Hulik and was produced by HBO Europe’s Antony Root and Tereza Polachova and Nutproducke’s Tomas Hruby and Pavla Kubeckova.
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.
As it seeks to expand, Europe’s biggest media company, Bertelsmann, plans to spend as much as 3B euros ($3.9B) on acquisitions over the next three years, a move that reflects the current culture of increased media M&A activity in Europe. The company recently said it would reduce its stake in broadcasting giant and FremantleMedia owner the RTL Group, potentially raising about $2B. CEO Thomas Rabe said today that those proceeds coupled with about 500M euros in annual net cash flow would help fund individual deals worth “a couple hundred millions of euros,” according to Bloomberg. Bertelsmann is looking to expand into digital content and emerging markets and Rabe said, “It is our clear objective to grow the company in the next couple of years. Assuming a little bit of tailwind from a recovery in Europe, we expect to grow to 17B euros this year and 18B euros in the next.” An IPO, however, is “off the table for the foreseeable future.”
LONDON, 5 March 2013: FremantleMedia, one of the largest creators, producers and distributors of television brands in the world, today announced the appointment of Keith Hindle as CEO of its newly created Digital & Branded Entertainment division. Based in New York, Hindle will craft and lead the digital and branded entertainment strategy for FremantleMedia around the world, reporting to FremantleMedia CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz and sitting on the company’s Operating Board.
In his new role, Hindle, who was formerly CEO, Americas at FremantleMedia’s Enterprises arm, will steer and oversee FremantleMedia’s growing multi-platform business worldwide, with functional responsibility for all digital, sponsorship, social media and YouTube activity, including the company’s original content channels, along with apps, second-screen extensions and online gaming. Hindle will work closely with digital and sponsorship teams in FremantleMedia’s local territories, and will also sit on the Operating Boards of FremantleMedia’s gaming company Ludia and its transmedia company @radical.media.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Savile Claims Hit BBC, Sony TV In Russia, TLC’s ‘Bizarre ER’, Fremantle’s ‘Family Harmony’ And More
BBC Hit With Civil Claims In Jimmy Savile Scandal
A lawyer acting on behalf of 31 victims of the late Jimmy Savile has lodged civil claims for compensation in the high court against the disgraced host’s estate and the BBC over allegations of sexual abuse. Attorney Alan Collins told The Guardian that all claims are against Savile’s estate with “seven or eight” against the BBC itself, which the suits allege has “vicarious liability” in the case. Another lawyer working on behalf of a further 62 victims told Bloomberg that the action was premature, because parties involved had agreed to wait for the results of the police investigation into Savile. “We do not believe the commencement of litigation at this stage to be either necessary or in our clients’ best interest,” she said. – Joe Utichi
Australia Distribs Confident Of Fast Take-off For UltraViolet
The UltraViolet format launches in Australia on May 1, a joint effort from the majors and independent distributors which they are confident will avoid the pitfalls which plagued the technology’s introduction in the U.S. Key elements of the Australian launch include a unified marketing campaign, the participation of all distributors except Disney, which has yet to join the UV bandwagon, and the support of dominant retail chains, home entertainment retailers and digital download services. The Oz-based working group that includes members of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem Universal, Sony, Fox, Warner, Paramount, Roadshow and Hopscotch eOne, predicts 300,000 Australian homes will sign up for UV accounts by October 31. Australia still has a very healthy DVD rental business, partly because pay-TV penetration is a relatively low 30%, Netflix and Hulu haven’t entered the market and the SVOD business is tiny. U.S. and Australian companies that supply UV back-end services have been pitching the mass merchandisers. Distributors haven’t announced titles for the May launch. The primary target of the marketing campaigns will be families and people aged 25-45, rather than early adopters regarded as less receptive to UV. Distributors hope the ease and convenience of downloading films to multiple devices via UV will reduce piracy. – Don Groves
A Max Steel movie still hasn’t gotten off the ground, but the brand is making a comeback. Mattel is set to relaunch the action property in March with a 26-episode animated series premiering in the U.S. on Disney XD, and a worldwide rollout in over 100 territories. Mattel is co-producing with FremantleMedia Enterprises which will handle overseas rights. The Max Steel line of action figures was originally introduced in the U.S. in 1999, but Mattel pulled back on the brand domestically following 9/11, EVP for global brands, Tim Kiplin, told the NYT. It nevertheless became a huge hit in Latin America and the toymaker now sees an opportunity to establish a major new franchise grounded in multimedia. The reboot will include the Disney TV series, a live-action short movie, an online content hub, mobile games, graphic novels, toys and other products. The original concept of the brand has also been tweaked to make Max younger and more relatable to boys who see the teen hero and his alien companion, Steel, combine their turbo energy and heightened intellect to create the ultimate superhero. If the reboot clicks, perhaps it will light a fire under the bigscreen version that was originally set up at Paramount in 2009. Hit the jump for Mattel’s press release:
American Idol and X Factor producer FremantleMedia has named former HIT Entertainment COO Sangeeta Desai to the combined roles of COO and CFO with immediate effect. The exec will be based in London and report to Fremantle CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz. Desai has also been named to the board of directors. Before joining HIT, she was a principal at private equity firm Apax Partners and also did stints at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. Fremantle lately has been making a push in the scripted arena. It recently teamed with veteran feature and TV writer/producer Marshall Herskovitz for a drama series project inspired by the book Hitlerland. It’s also producing E!’s upcoming scripted art gallery series Gallerina and is developing Joan of Arc novel The Maid into a drama series with Craig Pearce.
December 17, 2012 – FremantleMedia has finalized a deal with writer Craig Pearce to develop the New York Times bestseller The Maid into a television drama series for international audiences. The as yet untitled series will be executive produced by Pukeko Pictures, the television company co-founded by Richard Taylor, head of Weta Workshop; and written by Craig Pearce, whose credits include co-writing with Baz Luhrmann Romeo + Juliet, the Oscar-winning Moulin Rouge, and the upcoming The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. This is the first project to come out of the Pukeko Pictures / FremantleMedia partnership announced earlier this year.
The Maid is the bestselling novel by Kimberley Cutter and tells the tale of Joan of Arc, a peasant girl who believes she is sent by God to save France. This story of Joan, the girl, is a new and gripping take on how a farmer’s daughter sought escape from her own personal oppression to lead thousands of French fighters against a brutal and prolonged English invasion. The series will breathe life into the action-packed final years of the Hundred Years War by chronicling them from not only Joan’s perspective but also those of the international noble houses that battled for control of the French throne and ultimately, the birth of a nation.
LONDON, December 13 2012 Exclusive Media, the filmed entertainment company based in Los Angeles and London, announced today that it has established a television division and inked a global first look development and distribution deal with FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME).
Exclusive Media Television (EMTV) will be run by Exclusive Media Vice Chairman and Hammer President Simon Oakes, and is already in active development on a number of high profile projects, which will be announced in due course.
Marshall Herskovitz To Write And Produce Drama About Rise Of German Nazis For FremantleMedia Based On Book ‘Hitlerland’
EXCLUSIVE: In one of FremantleMedia‘s highest-profile scripted projects to date, the American Idol and X Factor producer has teamed with veteran feature and TV writer/producer Marshall Herskovitz for a drama series project inspired by the book Hitlerland by Andrew Nagorski published earlier this year. Herskovitz will write the adaptation and executive produce with producer/manager Alan Gasmer (Vikings).
The series is set in 1920s and ’30s Berlin, an electrifying, chaotic city at the forefront of literature, art and science. The book’s accounts of American diplomats and correspondents who witnessed Hitler and the Nazis’ rise to power will be woven into a fictional tapestry of political intrigue, pursuit of power, and personal danger — set against the backdrop of the most sexually and artistically liberated city in the world. “Berlin during the 1920s and ’30s was so alive, so filled with promise, so incredibly modern — even today, much of what we think of as new or avant-garde was created then,” Herskovitz said. “And it’s equally important — in light of the dark forces in our world today — to understand how a group like the Nazis ever came to power.”