21st Century Fox Co-COO James Murdoch recently told investors that about half of his studio’s cash flow comes from television series. “There’s maybe one other firm that can claim the same volume and success” that Fox has had in TV, he said at the Sanford C Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in May. The increasingly visible Murdoch will further discuss Fox and its plans for the TV business when he delivers the Media Mastermind Keynote at October’s Mipcom. Murdoch was upped to his current role at Fox in March, in a clear indication that dad Rupert is putting his succession plans in order, and has been appearing publicly with far more frequency over the past year. He now has direct responsibility for 21st Century Fox’s TV interests, which include the Fox Networks Group in the U.S. and, internationally, holdings in BSkyB, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia and STAR India. It’s a particularly interesting time for the European holdings as BSkyB in May confirmed it had initiated preliminary discussions with 21st Century Fox to evaluate the potential acquisition of its pay-TV assets in Germany and Italy. Meanwhile, Fox has also said it is looking to form a joint venture with Apollo Global Management which would combine the Shine Group, Endemol and CORE Media Group. Mipcom runs from October …
In a bid to push “morality-building programs” Chinese regulator SAPPRFT has issued a decree to cut back on imports and non-factual programming. Beginning in 2014, satellite broadcasters will be allowed to acquire rights to only one foreign format — and the one they do pick up will be restricted to airing outside of primetime. What’s more, state media report, only one musical talent show will be approved every quarter. There will also be a 7.5-hour daily blackout period on broadcasting serials and entertainment programs; the time instead will be filled with news and education programming.
China is forecast to be the biggest pay-TV market by the end of 2018 with 313 million households, and this directive officially came down just days after the Mipcom TV market wrapped in Cannes. Chinese buyers have become a fixture at foreign markets and this move could put a damper on some of the business they do with overseas companies. Competition shows like China’s Got Talent and Chinese Idol have been successfully adapted in recent years. News of the restrictions comes after a Chinese delegation spent the weekend in Hollywood, talking up the future for collaboration between U.S. and China film and TV production companies.
Listen to (and share) episode 11 of Deadline’s audio podcast Global Showbiz Watch With Nancy Tartaglione. Deadline’s international editor and host David Bloom wrap up news out of Mipcom, including that $75 million offer Jeffrey Katzenberg says he made to the makers of Breaking Bad for just three more episodes. We’ll also talk about the opening weekend in France for the controversial Palme D’Or winner, Blue Is The Warmest Color and the absence of IMAX for Gravity in France; the discovery and re-mastering of nine long-lost episodes of Doctor Who in Nigeria; and Fox’s latest big investment in soccer, this time in the top German league and covering 80 territories including all the Western Hemisphere.
Miss some of Deadline’s Top TV stories this week? Check them out here:
‘Boardwalk Empire’ At NY PaleyFest: Tony Soprano As Nucky Thompson? “One Of The First People We Talked About”, Creator Says
By Ray Richmond – James Gandolfini as Boardwalk Empire kingpin Nucky Thompson? It might have happened had the stars aligned differently, the HBO drama’s creator and showrunner Terence Winter said today during the concluding panel of the PaleyFest: Made in NY event at New York’s Paley Center for Media.
‘Wizard Of Oz’-Themed Drama ‘Red Brick Road’ In The Works At Lifetime
By Nellie Andreeva – EXCLUSIVE: The year of Wizard Of Oz continues with the sale of another high-profile Oz-themed drama project.
Young ‘Ellen’ Stars Sophia Grace & Rosie To Topline NBC Comedy & Feature Produced By Ellen DeGeneres
By Nellie Andreeva – EXCLUSIVE: Are these the next Olsen twins? Ellen standouts Sophia Grace Brownlee and Rosie McClelland, are getting their own primetime show, which will be executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres.
Open Letter To Kathy Bates: Congrats On Skewing-Up NBC
By Lisa De Moraes – Dear Kathy Bates: Remember how NBC cancelled your Harry’s Law drama series in spring 2012, at the end of its second season, even though it was then the network’s most-watched drama series — because NBC suits felt its audience skewed too old and Warner Bros, not NBCU, owned the show?
Mipcom: Jeffrey Katzenberg Talks DreamWorks Animation TV & Offering $75M For 3 Extra ‘Breaking Bad’ Episodes
Jeffrey Katzenberg told a packed audience at Mipcom today that he offered the folks behind Breaking Bad $75M to produce three additional episodes of the hit series. But he had one criteria: They would have to be delivered in 30, six-minute chapters. The DreamWorks Animation chief said he would have used the content to create “the best pay-per-view scripted TV event ever” by releasing the snippets over 30 days on VOD platforms like iTunes for 99 cents per. “There’s no doubt people would buy it every day, everyone would be there waiting for the next six minutes,” he said. The self-confessed fan said he came up with the idea prior to learning how the show would end. Given the ultimate demise of its central character, it was “not a very good idea, as we now know,” Katzenberg laughed. But, he shared the story to exemplify his vision of the potential of short-form entertainment.
Katzenberg is Mipcom’s Personality of the Year and was delivering a keynote this afternoon in Cannes when he made the comments. “I have the courage of my convictions in this, I just think there is a whole new platform” for short-form entertainment to fill up “waiting time.”
Mipcom Briefs: Keshet’s ‘Rising Star’ In Russian Redo; ‘Dining With The Enemy’ In Canada; UK TV Exports Reach £1.2B; More
Keshet International‘s hot format Rising Star is headed to Russia. Broadcaster Rossiya 1, part of media group VGTRK, will air a local version of the interactive primetime show which France’s M6 acquired earlier this week. Keshet DCP, a joint venture with DC Media, is also shopping a U.S. version to American broadcasters. Keshet debuted a live screening of Rising Star from Israel last night in Cannes. The singing competition integrates home viewers who vote in real-time via an app that also posts their photos to the TV screen. The app has now been downloaded more than 1.2M times. The show is a big hit at home where it’s produced by Tedy Productions for Keshet Broadcasting.
Canada’s TV5 is prepping war-zone/foodie hybrid A Table Avec L’Ennemi, an adaptation of Norwegian format, Dining With The Enemy. The six-part series will be hosted by journalist and author Frédérick Lavoie and chef Charles-Antoine Crête. It will travel to conflict areas around the world including Mexico, Rwanda and Afghanistan, and see two representatives from opposing factions share a meal and discuss their views and vision of ongoing strife. “We forget that, in war zones or risk areas, life goes on. People try to live a normal life and their main concerns are much like ours… We hope the dinner table will serve as a meeting place, a place for dialogue and hope between two cultures”, says TV5 Programming Director Pierre Gang. Media Ranch president Sophie Ferron will produce with the series to air in fall 2014. Canadian production and distribtion outfit Media Ranch has an option to produce local adaptations of Dining With The Enemy in English-speaking Canada and the UK, and is in discussions on a Canada-U.S. co-production.
Listen to (and share) episode 10 of Deadline’s audio podcast Global Showbiz Watch With Nancy Tartaglione. Deadline’s international editor talks with host David Bloom from Cannes, France, where Nancy is covering Mipcom, the massive international TV market. Show trends include the U.S. networks’ urgent search for successors to their fading reality-show stalwarts as highly interactive Israeli upstart Rising Star wins a lot of attention; the Weinsteins’ go to War, and Peace, marching into the growing business of prestige international TV co-productions; and notable names among this year’s International Emmy nominees, led by France’s The Returned. And, in a final kick, Nancy and David discuss the FIFA decision to consult its media partners about a possible date change in the 2022 World Cup to avoid the baking summer heat of host country Qatar.
Mipcom: Relativity’s Ryan Kavanaugh On ‘Limitless’ Possibilities, Movies As Pilots, New Content Platform For Studio’s Output
Relativity Media founder and CEO Ryan Kavanaugh strode onto the main stage here at Mipcom today, providing a run-down of his business model versus the Hollywood studios’ “blockbuster or bust” mentality, declaring that Relativity’s just-announced Limitless TV series “could be one of the biggest shows that’s ever been”, and announcing his intention to build a digital TV Everywhere-style platform within the next 12 months.
Kavanaugh was in Cannes in support of Limitless and Act Of Valor, two new series based on the studio’s own films. Bradley Cooper is executive producing Limitless, which is part of Relativity’s expansion into scripted television. Kavanaugh said some very big stars were interested, adding “Who knows? (Cooper) may be in the first episode.” Relativity also just received a greenlight at National Geographic Channel for its first scripted series, drama Act Of Valor. The company’s unscripted portfolio already has 17 series currently on air including MTV hit Catfish, an offshoot from its documentary feature.
Kavanaugh explained he had an “epiphany” about turning Relativity movies into TV shows after Catfish. Although the film was profitable, it was an underperformer by traditional measures. Yet, young people kept telling him how much they enjoyed it. “Based on what I was hearing, I went back to all of our underperformers” to look at their sell-thru, on demand and DVD numbers as well as the marketing and he realized that if a percentage of the films’ audience could be converted to TV, it would be a win. The same theory could be applied to films that had broader box office appeal, à la Limitless, he said. With 20 million-plus viewers already invested in the movie, “it was the biggest pilot of all time. No TV show has ever had this.”
Mipcom Briefs: Travel Channel On ‘RV Rampage’; ‘Cambodian Idol’ Tunes Up; ITV ‘Keeping The Nation Alive’; ‘Wentworth’ Sales; MipTV’s Digital Fronts
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.
The Weinstein Co today announced itself as a player in the European TV arena with news it would act as production partner on the BBC’s War And Peace event series. The project is the latest to join the trend of large-scale co-productions with European elements and established U.S. pedigrees that arguably kicked off with Tom Fontana’s Borgia. TWC’s move is an even clearer signal that lines are blurring in the scripted TV world. To name just a few of the big-scale projects in the current bent is a laundry list of who’s who on the landscape: Crossing Lines from Ed Bernero and Studiocanal-owned Tandem Communications; Tandem and Lionsgate TV’s Sex, Lies And Handwriting; Daniel Cerone’s Canadian crime import Motive; HBO Asia’s Serangoon Road; Gaumont International TV’s King David from Wolfgang Petersen, Monsieur De Paris from Tony Gilroy and Barbarella with Nicolas Winding Refn; and Fox International Channels’ adaptation of Keshet’s Shkufim with Peter Landesman writing. Meanwhile, Core Media also has a scripted production venture with veteran Canadian producer Noreen Halpern’s Halfire Entertainment banner and a 3-for-1 agreement with NBC which banks on co-productions. Some of the above already had a presence at April’s MipTV market and some are more recent. But for sure, all are being talked about here at Mipcom.
Mipcom Briefs: One Three Media In Deal For Cee-Lo Series; FremantleMedia Inks Digital Deal With Youku China; ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Goes Wide; More
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Mark Burnett’s One Three Media has closed a deal to distribute TBS’ upcoming CeeLo’s Goodie Life, the reality series that will feature musician, producer and The Voice co-host CeeLo Green. In a 10-year, multi-platform agreement, One Three Media will distribute the show globally across all platforms. It airs next year on TBS and follows Green as he tackles his packed schedule of producing, recording and performing, and also looks at the creative partnership with his longtime best friends — Big Gipp, Khujo and T-Mo — as they prepare to revive their iconic hip-hop group Goodie Mob. One Three Media will start offering the show at MipTV in April. CeeLo’s Goodie Life, which is a working title, is produced by Emerald TV Productions, LLC and Rogue Atlas. TBS has ordered six episodes for a 2014 premiere.
There’s been a similar vibe across the past several major television markets that take place here in Cannes twice a year, with everybody looking for the next big tentpole reality format. But at this Mipcom, there is a sense of urgency as the U.S. broadcast networks are in dire need of finding successors for their aging marquee franchises. Since the spring MIPTV, three of the four major networks have seen a change at the top of their unscripted departments as part of the efforts to shake things up in the area. The last big reality format to score big in the U.S., The Voice, came from overseas, as did most of the older big American unscripted franchises, including American Idol and Dancing With The Stars, so unscripted formats from around the world offered at MIPCOM will get attention. Here are a few shows and untapped reality areas that are setting the Croisette abuzz:
BetaFilm debuted Sky Italia crime series Gomorrah on Sunday here at Mipcom. Based on the book by Roberto Saviano, the 12-hour series has secured deals with Sky Germany, HBO Nordic, HBO Latin America, Arrow Film in the UK and Lumiere for the Netherlands. Other negotiations are ongoing. Gomorrah is produced by Sky, Cattleya and Fandango in collaboration with La7 and Beta Film. The drama delves into the Camorra, the inner sanctum of organized crime in Naples. Saviano’s book was also the basis for Matteo Garrone’s 2008 Cannes Grand Jury Prize-winner Gomorrah. Stefano Sollima directs six of the episodes of the miniseries which is still in production. Claudio Cupellini and Francesca Comencini helm the remaining episodes.
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Television has partnered with Georgeville Television and actor/producer Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) for Limitless, a scripted TV series based on Relativity’s hit 2011 movie starring and executive produced by Cooper. He will executive produce the drama, with the film’s producers Leslie Dixon and Scott Kroopf serving as co-executive producers. The announcement will be made at the upcoming MIPCOM market in Cannes, where Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh will give a keynote speech Tuesday. “Limitless is the perfect example of Relativity’s multiplatform approach to creating quality content,” he said. Added Georgeville TV CEO Marc Rosen, “The film has an organic natural extension into a compelling and sophisticated one-hour drama that is both a thrill-ride and a social commentary.”
The Limitless feature, which starred Cooper, Robert De Niro and Abbie Cornish, is a paranoia-fueled action thriller about an unsuccessful writer whose life is transformed by a top-secret “smart drug” that allows him to use 100% of his brain and become a perfect version of himself. His enhanced abilities soon attract shadowy forces that threaten his new life. (Watch the trailer after the jump.) The film opened at No. 1 at the domestic box office on its way to grossing more than $160 million worldwide and subsequently sold 2 million-plus home video units.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Egypt Extends Canadian Filmmaker’s Detention; Helen Flint Launches Little Island Productions; More
Egypt Extends Detention Of Canadian Filmmaker Held Since August
Egyptian authorities have extended the detention of Canadian filmmaker John Greyson and his colleague Tarek Loubani, who have been held since August without being charged. Officials say they are being held during an investigating of items found in the men’s hotel room, including a camera attached to a small plane. The Canadian government has called for the release of Greyson and Loubani, who have been on a hunger strike in jail for the past two weeks. There also were several shows of support during the Toronto Film Festival. They were en route to Gaza on a humanitarian mission August 14 when they asked Cairo police for directions and were arrested. Amnesty International says scores of those arrested since have been deprived of their basic legal rights.
Helen Flint Launches TV Company Little Island Productions
Former Company Pictures exec Helen Flint has formed Little Island Productions with a view to producing scripted drama for the UK and global markets. Flint spent eight years with All3Media’s Company Pictures (The White Queen) and produced 2006 award winner Longford. Company’s Alex Protherough is joining Flint at Little Island as Production Executive. Little Island will also sport a production services arm to aid international and UK domestic companies seeking to benefit from the new UK TV tax credit.
Global Showbiz Briefs: BAFTA Releases Breakthrough Brits List; New Report Says UK Creative Industries Are Threatened; More
BAFTA Unveils First Breakthrough Brits List For Film, TV, Games
BAFTA and Burberry have selected 17 newcomers who are making their name in film, TV or games for the inaugural BAFTA Breakthrough Brits list. The honorees, selected by a jury of industry experts, are actors Paul Brannigan, James Floyd, Tom Holland, Ade Oyefeso, Chloe Pirrie, and Sharon Rooney; writers/directors Rowan Athale and Zam Salim; writer Dominic Mitchell; game developers Oliver Clarke, Mitu Khandaker and Dan Pearce; game designers Rex Crowle and Sophia George; broadcaster Arthur Williams; and producers Ed Barratt and Nisha Parti. They will be celebrated during a showcase event October 21 at BAFTA headquarters in London.
EXCLUSIVE: Gaumont International Television, the U.S.-based TV production arm of French film studio Gaumont, is paying homage to its roots with a new drama project from feature duo Tony Gilroy and Dan Gilroy. Monsieur De Paris, which marks Oscar-nominated fillmmaker Tony Gilroy’s first foray into television, will be shopped at the upcoming MIPCOM TV market. Created and written by the Gilroy brothers and to be directed by Tony Gilroy, Monsieur De Paris is set in the world of Paris 1931. It tells the story of the official executioner of France, keeper of the guillotine and caretaker of a medieval ritual transposed into a modern world. Born into a profession passed down through six generations, he has ceased attempting to run from his chosen calling but still refuses to let it define him. He is a man who lives two lives — husband and family man, and sanctioned killer of the republic. “We’ve waited a long time to find the right moment, the right idea, and the right place to have a long-form adventure,” said Tony Gilroy. “Everyone knows the most imaginative, electric storytelling is happening on the second screen these days and we’re terribly excited about being part of it.” Tony Gilroy has co-written all installments in the Bourne film series and directed The Bourne Legacy, which …
Sony Pictures Television will introduce a new reality series format at MIPCOM — Milky Way Mission — which will send celebrities into space. The news comes as Survivor and The Voice producer Mark Burnett is pitching another unscripted series where the prize is flying into space on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. SPT’s agreement is with Netherlands-based Space Expedition Corporation (SXC), which is launching a space travel program for civilians in 2014. Milky Way Mission, created by Tuvalu Media and Simpel Media, features 10 celebrities living in a special bootcamp where they undergo a rigorous and intensive training program in preparation to become an astronaut. (The Mark Burnett series is said to feature non-celebrity contestants). Each week the stars face a series of extreme physical and mental challenges, with final rounds taking place at the launch site in Mojave, CA. The series already has been sold to Dutch network Nederland 1, which has commissioned eight hourlong episodes. “For years people have dreamt about the possibility of a show in space,” Wayne Garvie, chief creative officer, international production at SPT said. “SPT is now poised to make that dream real.” The new TV space race comes a decade after space first became a hot reality destination with several projects, neither of which took off the ground, including Burnett’s Destination Mir and Destination Space.
UKTV is the broadcast joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive. It recently ordered its first original sitcom You, Me & Them, starring Buffy The Vampire Slayer‘s Anthony Head, and today says it’s moving into drama. Life On Mars creator Tony Jordan‘s Red Planet Pictures is developing the 10-part Legion to air on UKTV’s flagship channel, Watch. Jordan, whose other credits inlcude Death In Paradise and the upcoming By Any Means and The Great War, says he’s been working on Legion for 15 years and calls it his “ultimate passion project.” The story follows a criminologist who makes a deal with the devil to save the life of his 10-year-old daughter who’s suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. When he finds he’s been tricked, he undertakes to renegotiate his contract by fighting the devil’s work on Earth which leads to a revelation that will forever change the world. The UK’s new TV tax credit is making it an attractive production location and Legion producers are talking to potential international co-production partners with an eye to close a deal at next month’s Mipcom TV market.