NBC News this morning named ITV News’ international editor Bill Neely as its new Chief Global Correspondent, based in London. The hire reunites Neely with NBC News president Deborah Turness, who was formerly editor of ITV News from ’04-13. You’ve already seen Neely appear with some regularity on NBC News, through the news division’s partnership with ITN. Neely, who has spent more than two decades with ITV, will cover major international news and events for all of NBC News’ broadcasts and digital platforms. Neely previously served as ITV News Washington Correspondent for six years, covering five of the last six presidential elections, as well as the Oklahoma City bombings, the Atlanta Olympics, and superstorm Sandy.
Deadline’s international editor talks with host David Bloom about The Rocket, the best film to come out of Laos in perhaps ever, and why the Laotian government is banning it; Keshet’s Rising Star continues to rise in the U.S. and U.K.; so-past-rising star Simon Cowell’s newest three-year deal with ITV; what new EU film-support rules may mean for getting more films made there; and a French film debut that may redeem a poor year at the box office for local productions.
Foyle’s War has been greenlit for an eighth season, scheduled for release in 2015. Acorn Productions, ITV, and Eleventh Hour Films this morning announced another three-episode season, starring Michael Kitchen and Honeysuckle Weeks, and written by screenwriter Anthony Horowitz. No word from PBS as to whether it will pick up the new season of 3 X 120 episodes, on which filming is scheduled to begin in January. PBS ran the most recent three-episode season in September, as part of its Masterpiece Mystery franchise.
In 2010, Silver Spring, Md.-based Acorn, a company best known for its DVD releases of British crunchy-gravel dramas, announced it had bought the British franchise Foyle’s War from UK production indie Greenlit Rights, which had gone into so-called “administration.” It marked the first time Acorn had bought ownership rights to one of its British series. Foyle’s War had been one of Acorn’s top-selling franchises on DVD for many years, and had last aired on PBS in May of ’10. The original series was set during WWII in Hastings, on the south coast of England — starring Kitchen as methodical Det. Christopher Foyle, a widower who, assisted by his driver Samantha, catches criminals by taking advantage of the confusion created by the war.
Global Showbiz Briefs: New Study Looks At Entertainment Media Consumption In The Middle East; Helen Mirren Wins Again; More
New Study Looks At Entertainment Media Consumption In The Middle East
Northwestern University in Qatar and the Doha Film Institute are partnering on a research project to explore trends in entertainment media consumption in the Middle East. The survey research will cover entertainment, culture, and sports in six countries including …
Global Showbiz Briefs: EC Unveils “Film Support Rules” For European Union; AFI/IDG China Story Fellowship Announced; More
European Commission Unveils “Film Support Rules” For EU
European Union member states provide films with an estimated €3B ($4.03B) per year in grants, soft loans and tax incentives. About 80% of that goes toward film production — one reason pricey indies are turning to the UK and the Continent. Today, in a long-awaited move by the European Commission, the body has published its new “film support rules” for the EU. The revised criteria for assessing member states’ support systems for film and other audiovisual works is being referred to as the “Cinema Communication.” It allows aid for a wider scope of activities, highlights individual countries’ discretion in defining support targets, introduces the possibility for more aid for European co-productions, and promotes film heritage. Among the highlights (the full text is here) is that co-productions funded by more than one member state now will be eligible to receive aid of up to 60% of the production budget. There are no limits on aid for script writing or development. In-country spend requirements will remain at the discretion of the individual states. The new Communication was met today with praise from both the UK and France. The BFI welcomed the news that the Cinema Communication “safeguards the UK’s film tax relief and Lottery funding for film. … The continuation of the successful UK film tax relief framework is a huge reassurance to the UK film industry and will support the growth of the sector.” French filmmakers also hailed the EC’s decision to “preserve the complex but efficient fabric of European cinematic support.” Commission VP Joaquín Almunia said, “The objective of these revised rules is to encourage vibrant audiovisual creation in Europe while preserving cultural diversity everywhere in the EU.”
U.S. Writers Will Head East With AFI/IDG China Story Fellowship
The American Film Institute announced today its AFI/IDG China Story Fellowship, a scholarship program at the AFI Conservatory aimed at developing screenplays that foster greater understanding of Chinese history, culture and literature. The fellowship provides nine AFI Fellows with travel to China for cultural research. They will write a feature-length screenplay and receive a full scholarship for their second year at the AFI Conservatory. “Too many Americans only know Chinese culture through animated films like Kung Fu Panda and Mulan,” said Hugo Shong, Chairman of IDG Greater China. “Americans deserve to see other types of movies about China, ones that hopefully can entertain them, educate them and at the same time touch their hearts.”
NBC News‘ Brit chief Deborah Turness has named the current director of online for ITV in the UK and former Sky News exec, Julian March to be her news operation’s senior VP of editorial and innovation. March will move to New York in early ’14. Reporting to Turness, March will be a key editorial leader at NBC News, overseeing all digital businesses, including NBCNews.com, as well as the news division’s editorial units. NBC News said this will allow for further integration of broadcast TV news and digital operations.
At ITV, March is credited with coming up with the strategy and delivery of the network’s entire online business. Prior to ITV, he spent 11 years at Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News, where he launched the Sky News app, and produced over 3,000 hours of live television, including coverage of major breaking news stories such as the 7/7 London bombings and the Indian Ocean tsunami.
Sixties-set medical drama Breathless premiered on ITV1 in the UK on Thursday night with 3.7M viewers (including +1s) for a 17.5% share in the overnights. That was consistent with the slot average and was enough for the show …