Travel Channel has ordered 10-episode New Zealand-set series, RV Rampage. The show will be produced by Tuesday’s Child, the UK indie set up by former Shine TV joint MD Karen Smith. RV Rampage sees five couples from around the world travel from one end of the country to the other in a mobile home as they face cultural, physical and mental challenges. Henry Cole and Amanda Byram will host. Smith and Steph Harris are exec producing for Tuesday’s Child.
Cambodia and Myanmar are getting their first-ever global talent formats, via a new deal with FremantleMedia International. Hang Meas Group will produce multiple seasons of Cambodian Idol and Cambodia’s Got Talent for air on Hang Meas HDTV, Fremantle said today. In Myanmar, Forever BEC-Tero has licensed the Got Talent format for Channel 7 and MRTV-4.
ITV Studios acquired UK producer The Garden in April this year and has just announced deals on its medical documentary series Keeping The Nation Alive. ITV Studios Nordic has been commissioned by TV Norge to produce Keeping Norway Alive, a six-part series to air next year, and ITV Studios France will make Keeping France Alive for pubcaster France 2, also for air in 2014. The original BBC Two series has also been sold to BBC Knowledge in Australia. The series provides a behind-the-scenes snapshot of 24-hours in the nation’s healthcare system; from emergencies and cardiac operations to tattoo removals and plastic surgery. READ MORE »
ITV Studios and Masterpiece teamed to co-produce Breathless, the upcoming six-part drama about a group of doctors and nurses working in a London hospital in the 1960s. Jack Davenport leads an ensemble cast that includes Game Of Thrones‘ Iain Glen, … Read More »
Rosamund Pike will voice International Rescue agent Lady Penelope in the upcoming re-invention of classic kids series Thunderbirds Are Go! The UK’s ITV Studios is teaming with New Zealand-based Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop to co-produce the update of the series that was created by Gerry and Sylivia Anderson in 1965. Pike, who’s starring with Ben Affleck in David Fincher’s adaptation of Gone Girl and coming off roles in The World’s End and Jack Reacher, will be heard alongside original cast member David Graham who is reprising his role as chauffeur and International Rescue agent Parker. The new series of 26 half-hours will debut on ITV in 2015 using a mix of CGI animation and live-action miniature sets. Also joining as the five brave Tracy brothers, who rocket around the world fighting evil-doers, are Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Rasmus Hardiker and David Menkin (the former two are doubling up on roles). Read More »
‘The Wind Rises’ Makes It Eight Straight Weeks At No. 1 In Japan
Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises is still No. 1 at the Japanese box office after eight consecutive weekends. The Studio Ghibli release was up 13.6% this weekend after the director made his retirement official at a press conference in Tokyo last week. Per FilmBizAsia, the movie has taken in $97.2M to date. The website says that the last domestic movie to stay atop the box office for more than seven weeks in a row was Bayside Shakedown 2 in 2003. Miyazaki’s Oscar winner Spirited Away was tops for 16 consecutive weeks in 2001. Disney said Wednesday that it will open the film February 21 in North America after an Oscar-qualifying run in November. Read More »
‘Copper’ Will Make UK Debut Streaming On LoveFilm
LoveFilm has acquired UK rights to Cineflix series Copper. The series follows Vikings as the second to debut in the UK exclusively via the streaming service, bypassing traditional broadcasters. Netflix competitor LoveFilm will make the show available for streaming starting Friday. Tom Weston-Jones, Kyle Schmid and Anastasia Griffith star in the period police drama co-created by Tom Fontana and Will Rokos. Copper airs on BBC America in the U.S. Read More »
Hrithik Roshan Shrugs Off Brain Surgery, Returns To Work
Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan is to go back before the cameras for local Fox feature Bang Bang in mid-November. The actor underwent brain surgery to remove a blood clot last month, putting the film on hiatus, but now says he is “doubly charged and looking forward to resuming” production”. Siddharth Anand is directing the film, which also stars Katrina Kaif. “Hrithik is raring to go and his enthusiasm is infectious,” Anand said according to NDTV. The release of the film has been moved from May to October 2, 2014, to take advantage of the four-day Dussehra weekend holiday. Roshan is one of Bollywood’s hottest stars and next will be seen in Krrish 3, which bows November 4.
David Harewood Passes Up A Dance For ‘By Any Means’
Erstwhile Homeland CIA director David Harewood turned down a slot on BBC series Strictly Come Dancing last month, but he will appear in another show on the network. Life On Mars and Death In Paradise producer Red Planet Pictures is putting the finishing touches on six-part drama series By Any Means and has added a handful of well-known British guest stars for the first season. Along with Harewood, Downton Abbey‘s Amy Nuttall, Mr. Selfridge‘s Nick Moran and legendary Bond Girl Honor Blackman will all appear. The drama revolves around a clandestine police unit living on the edge and playing the criminal elite at their own game. Regular cast includes Warren Brown (Luther), Shelley Conn (Mistresses), Andrew-Lee Potts (Primeval), Gina McKee (The Borgias) and Elliot Knight (Sinbad). Belinda Campbell and Tony Jordan are exec producers for Red Planet, and Polly Hill exec produces for BBC One.
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Lucan focuses on the life of Lord Lucan, aka Richard John Bingham, the 7th Earl of Lucan, a suspected murderer who disappeared without trace in 1974. ITV has commissioned the two-part drama which examines the events … Read More »
UPDATE, TUESDAY AM: ITV has been on a shopping spree this year with its most recent acquisition, Britain’s Big Talk Productions, announced just last Friday. But ITV chief Adam Crozier told reporters on Tuesday … Read More »
Shout! Factory and ITV Studios Global Entertainment have partnered on a North American distribution deal to release more than 30 films from ITV’s library of films on home entertainment and digital platforms. … Read More »
Social Media Campaign Nets ‘Alan Partridge’ Premiere For English Town
The people of Norwich, England, have won. After a Facebook and Twitter campaign to bring the premiere of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa to the town that’s the setting for the film, distributor StudioCanal and writer Armando Iannucci today announced it will indeed launch at Norwich’s Anglia Square on July 24. Steve Coogan plays the cult character whose fictional radio station, North Norfolk Digital, is located in Norwich. The movie will premiere at a lunchtime showing in Norwich before being screened later that evening in London’s Leicester Square. The official UK release is August 7. Click on the image at left to enlarge the note Iannucci tweeted from Partridge himself.
John Woo Begins Work On What Local Media Is Calling Chinese ‘Titanic’
Director John Woo has started production on his next helming effort, The Crossing. Beijing Galloping Horse is producing the war epic/disaster movie as a two-part feature. The film, set in 1940s Shanghai and Taiwan, revolves around three couples from different backgrounds whose lives are affected by the tide of history. It’s been dubbed by local media as the Chinese Titanic. The lead cast includes Zhang Ziyi, Takeshi Kaneshiro (House Of Flying Daggers), Huang Xiao Ming (The Banquet), Tong Dawei (The Flowers Of War) and Japan’s Masami Nagasawa. Veteran director Woo, whose U.S. titles include M-I:2 Mission: Impossible 2 and Face/Off, last helmed 2009′s Red Cliff II.
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ITV Studios will produce one-off TV movie The Psychopath Next Door for the UK’s Sky Living. Anna Friel (The Vatican, The Look Of Love) will play the glamorous titular character who moves into a suburban community where her magnetic personality hides her true nature. Described as darkly comic, the film is written by BAFTA winner Julie Rutterford. It will air in the fall as part of Sky’s Drama Matters block. Kate Bartlett exec produces for ITV Studios in the company’s first commission from Sky Living. Myar Craig-Brown is producer, Kieron J. Walsh directs. Read More »
Masterpiece is re-teaming with ITV Studios to co-produce Breathless, the upcoming six-part drama about a group of doctors and nurses working in a London hospital in the 1960s. Jack Davenport leads an ensemble cast that includes Game Of Thrones‘ Iain Glen, Downton Abbey‘s Zoe Boyle and Natasha Little (Kidnap And Ransom). The series is set in a busy gynecology unit in 1961, a time when abortion was still illegal, the contraceptive pill only just available to married women and moral codes were shifting. Shooting started in April. No U.S. or UK air date has been set. Read More »
Clock To Start Ticking For Indian ’24′
Slumdog Millionaire star Anil Kapoor is getting to work on the Indian version of the TV series 24. The actor, who was featured in the final season of Fox/20th TV’s real-time drama, will produce via his Anil Kapoor Film Co. He’ll also play the Jack Bauer character, now reportedly named Jai Singh Rathod, in the local take. According to BollywoodLife, production was due to kick off this week at Kapoor’s Stage 21 studio near Mumbai. Delhi Belly director Abhinay Deo is helming the series and Rensil D’Silva, who’s directing Sanjay Dutt’s Ungli, is scripting. The local broadcast partner is Viacom-owned Colors. Kapoor will next be seen on the big screen in Shootout At Wadala directed by Sanjay Gupta.
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Almost three years into its five-year Transformation Plan, the UK’s leading commercial broadcaster ended 2012 with a 13% increase in earnings, despite flat ad revenues. In reporting its full-year results this morning, ITV, whose flagship channel … Read More »
The UK’s ITV Studios is teaming with New Zealand-based Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop to co-produce Thunderbirds Are Go!, an update of the classic kids series that debuted in 1965. Twenty-six half hours have been ordered for air on ITV and CITV in the UK in 2015. The original Thunderbirds was created by Gerry Anderson, who passed away in December. Although it aired for just two seasons on ITV in the 60s, it became an international sensation. In syndication, the high-tech tales of adventurers rocketing around the world to fight evil-doers became a staple of Saturday morning and weekday afternoon programming in the U.S. The series also spawned feature films and inspired South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s Team America: World Police.
The new series will be produced using a unique mix of CGI animation and live-action model sets while also paying tribute to the legacy of model locations from Anderson’s original. Thunderbirds Are Go! will see the return of the five brave Tracy brothers as they pilot their incredible vehicles into impossible rescues across the globe. Estelle Hughes is exec producing for ITV Studios, Giles Ridge for ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Richard Taylor and Andrew Smith for Pukeko Pictures. Read More »
Downton Abbey‘s UK broadcaster ITV reported its interim results today with the group’s external revenue up 4% to £1.57B ($2.49B). Non-net advertising revenue was up 15% to £730M ($1.16B), driven by production arm ITV Studios, maker of such programs as Hell’s Kitchen and the upcoming Mr. Selfridge with Jeremy Piven. ITV Studios is expected to turn a profit of over £100M ($158.7M) for the year “and the number of new commissions and recommissions already secured for 2013 gives us confidence that there will continue to be good underlying growth in the Studios business,” boss Adam Crozier noted.
Continuing its five-year transformation plan, the company says total cost savings this year will be about £30M ($47.6M), or £10M ($15.87M) ahead of target. The advertising market has been “broadly flat,” Crozier said. Read More »
UPDATE: Just after announcing half-year results this morning, ITV said it has acquired Norwegian production company Mediacircus and has joined forces with Israeli broadcaster Reshet in a strategic development and production partnership. The moves fall in line with the company’s transformation plan as it aims to build a strong international content business. Mediacircus, which will become part of ITV Studios Nordic, produces factual and documentary programming. It currently produces the ITV Studios format Come Date with Me. Reshet develops and produces original drama and entertainment formats including Comedians At Work, Step Family and The Money Pump. Among its original dramas are A Touch Away, which has been licensed by HBO, and Life Is Not Everything, licensed by Sony Studios. Sharon Gelbaum-Shpan will head the venture’s Israeli office.
PREVIOUS: ITV chief exec Adam Crozier’s 5-year transformation plan at ITV is still underway and “gaining momentum.” The broadcaster reported its half-year results on Thursday morning with growth across all business areas. External revenues were up 10% to £1.13B with big increases at ITV Studios, Read More »
StudioCanal Acquires Hoyts Distribution Down Under
European production and distribution giant StudioCanal has expanded its footprint to Australia and New Zealand, acquiring Hoyts Distribution, which releases the Twilight franchise Down Under. Hoyts Corp, which owns the second-biggest circuit in Australasia, had been looking to unload its distribution unit before The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 opens here in November. No price was disclosed for the 11-year-old distribution company, which has a library of more than 120 titles, but industry executives estimated it would have fetched $A20 million-$A30 million. The existing team led by CEO Robert Slaviero remains in place. Read More »