Global Showbiz Briefs: Vice Media, FremantleMedia Team On Food Platform; ‘Rectify’, ‘Mr Selfridge’ Headed To France & Germany; More
Vice Media, FremantleMedia Team On Food Platform
Vice Media and FremantleMedia are teaming to create a create a multi-channel food platform aimed at a millennial audience. The companies will develop and produce digital content for the yet-unnamed Vice food vertical, which FremantleMedia will take to TV around the world. The venture will offer original video content, editorial features, articles, how-tos, recipes and events, providing a perspective on the intersection where humans and food connect. Recurring franchises will focus on subjects ranging from the politics of food to world travel and cuisine to an irreverent look at home cooking. Content will be available on multiple platforms, including Vice.com, Noisey and Motherboard.
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.
PBS has purchased a second season of Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven as the American entrepreneur who founded UK’s Selfridge department store. The second season will air on PBS’s Masterpiece Classic franchise in ’14. PBS says the first season was sampled by 15 million viewers over its eight episodes; …
Former BBC Worldwide exec Greg Johnson has joined ITV Studios Global Entertainment as SVP sales. Based in LA, he’ll lead ITVSGE’s TV distribution business in North America, Canada and Latin America. Johnson previously ran BBC Worldwide’s factual sales …
Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor.
What two popular TV show titles are least likely to occur in the same sentence? There is no single answer, but British producer Gareth Neame was decidedly taken aback when a family member came up with this combo: “We used to have Dallas. Now we have Downton.” Downton is, of course, the PBS Masterpiece hit Downton Abbey, the sprawling saga of the fabulously wealthy Crawley family, unfolding at the family’s English country estate. And Dallas is, well Dallas (1978-1991) CBS’ soapy saga of Texas oil baron J.R Ewing, set on the lavish Southfork Ranch. While the worlds of feathered bonnets and 10-gallon hats couldn’t seem more different, Downton executive producer Neame says the comparison confirmed what he’d been thinking when he proposed the series to creator-writer Julian Fellowes: Once again, there is room for the nighttime soap on the TV landscape.
As in the era of Dallas—which spawned Dynasty, Falcon Crest and Knots Landing—the primetime soap has surged in popularity with viewers. Along with the crown jewel Downton Abbey, witness the appearance of new and glamorous multigenerational sagas including ABC’s Nashville and Revenge. To prove the point, there’s even a new Dallas on TNT, with some of the original stars including Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy (J.R.’s “good” brother Bobby) returning to ruin each other’s lives for a new generation of viewers.
‘Mr. Selfridge’ Adds Cast For Season Two
Clash Of The Titans actress Polly Walker and The Awakening‘s Cal Macaninch have joined the cast of season two of Mr. Selfridge. The ITV period drama that’s currently airing on PBS Masterpiece has just begun shooting the second season of 10 episodes in London and Kent. Jeremy Piven stars as Harry Selfridge, the American entrepreneur who revolutionized the way women shopped in early 1900s London. Also joining the cast are Killing Bono‘s Aidan McArdle and The Bible‘s Sean Teale. The first season was a ratings winner for ITV in the UK where it aired in the Downton Abbey Sunday night slot. The second season picks up in 1914 as Selfridge’s department store is celebrating its fifth anniversary. As talk of war intensifies, Harry prepares the staff for challenging times ahead. An airdate will be scheduled for next year in order to coincide with the centenary of WWI.
Ari Gold returns to U.S. TV screens on Sunday, sans BlackBerry and decked out in a three-piece suit — though it won’t be a Brioni. PBS/Masterpiece will debut department store period drama Mr. Selfridge at 9 PM with Jeremy Piven playing the real-life ‘Mile a Minute Harry Selfridge’, the impresario who changed the way women shopped in early 1900s London. Whether the show can take the U.S. by storm, à la PBS mega-hit Downton Abbey, will come to bear over the first series’ run of 10 episodes. But as much as “period drama” has become a sort of blanket term, there are stark differences to the two shows. Both air in the UK on ITV, and The Guardian compared Selfridge to Downton upon its January UK debut, saying, “You can sit back and relax and not expect anyone to die suddenly without warning — only a minor altercation in the ladies glove department.”
Selfridge is an in-house ITV Studios production that garnered strong ratings from the outset in the UK, averaging over 8M viewers during its run from January through March. (It also beat the BAFTA Awards on February 10 despite the kudocast grabbing its highest numbers in a decade.) Downton Abbey, for its third season, had consolidated ratings averaging 11.9M.
The series is set in Selfridge’s department store, the shopping mecca that American entrepreneur Harry Selfridge built in 1909 and which still stands today on Oxford Street. The cast of characters includes shopgirls, socialites and a sexy (male) French window-dresser. At a screening of the first episode late last year, Piven said playing Selfridge was like “artistic sorbet.” At a TCA panel in January, he said he felt no competition pressure with Downton. “I feel like I willed this job to happen because I was such a fan of that show… I think there’s a great deal of camaraderie there.” It will be interesting to see the response given how strongly U.S. viewers equate the actor to his multiple Emmy-winning role in Entourage. Reviews in the UK, where it’s safe to say audiences are less familiar with “hugging it out”, have been largely positive apart from a few claims of hammy acting. The Guardian called it “polished, lavish, enjoyable period stuff” and of the series finale, The Arts Desk wrote: “Mr. Selfridge has had periodically decent thesping and plenty of visual glamour, but frocks alone do not a drama make.”
At a PBS TCA panel last month, Mr Selfridge creator Andrew Davies said that while no decision had been made on a second season, he’d already written the first episodes and was “very confident” of a renewal. He had reason to be. ITV today commissioned 10 more hourlong episodes of the period drama that stars Jeremy Piven as entrepreneur and department store revolutionary Harry Selfridge. Shooting starts in April in Greater London and Kent for a 2014 airdate that will coincide with the centenary of World War I. The first season kicks off on PBS next month.
Since launching on ITV in January, the show has a consolidated average audience of 8.5M and drew 9.4M to its peak episode. The second season will be set in 1914, just ahead of the Great War, and will add new castmembers. Also, joining Davies as lead writers will be Kate Brooke (Case Sensitive, Making Of A Lady) and Kate O’Riordan (The Bad Mother’s Handbook, The Kindness Of Strangers).
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Today’s TCA panel on PBS’ new Masterpiece Classic series Mr. Selfridge — a period drama starring Jeremy Piven as real-life department store entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge — was haunted by the ghost of Downton Abbey. On March 31, the new drama will join the megahit Downton on Sunday nights, so it is not surprising that Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton announced at the top of the session that the premiere of Mr. Selfridge on Britain’s ITV a couple of weeks ago rated higher that the premiere of “that other show.”
Creator Andrew Davies said on the panel that no decision has been made on a second season but “I’ve already written the first [episodes] of Season 2. We should hear very soon. We’ve done such good numbers in the UK; I’m very confident.” He said that in his mind, he’s up for four seasons: “Are you up for it, Jeremy?” he joked. Replied Piven: “I certainly hope I have the job, yeah. To be replaced at this point would be very disappointing. And confusing. It could be like Darrin on Bewitched, I guess.”
During the panel that featured Piven, Davies and co-stars Zoe Tapper and Frances O’Connor., Eaton stressed the differences between Selfridge (based on the nonfiction book by Lindy Woodhead) and Downton. She said that while both shows have “gorgeous people, money, life and death, seduction,” this story is based on reality. Plus she said, the department store world is a different “precinct beside the country house and the house in town. I don’t know why it hasn’t been done before.”
Related: TV Trailer: ‘Mr. Selfridge’
After the panel, she acknowledged that Masterpiece would love to repeat Downton’s success with a similar show. “We’re adding another member. It’s always risky and I think its inevitable that you want to do more of what works,” she said. “So when there is a hit show like Downton, I think there’s an enormous urge to capitalize on the attention it brings Masterpiece and to build on the audience that we’ve attracted, this seemed like kind of a perfect fit. But you have to vary it. It’s not another country house.”
China’s 2012 Box Office Up 30% To $2.74B
China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television has released updated box office figures for 2012 with sales hitting $2.74B for a 30.18% increase over last year. SARFT said the nation produced 893 total films last year including 745 features and 33 animated pictures, the Xinhua news agency reported. On its way to an estimated 16,000 screens by 2015, the country is adding 10.5 screens a day. As noted last week, however, those screens are increasingly drawing crowds for foreign films which have eaten into the local share. Imports took $1.4B in box office for 51.54% of the market in 2012. Still, homegrown hit Lost In Thailand recently became the highest-grossing Chinese film of all time with nearly $190M in less than a month of release.
ITV just released a trailer for the upcoming drama series Mr. Selfridge starring Jeremy Piven. In July, Masterpiece/WGBH joined ITV Studios as co-producer on the series, which will air in the U.S. under PBS’ Masterpiece banner. Piven stars as the flamboyant American entrepreneur and UK …
Earlier this month, my colleague Nellie Andreeva exclusively reported that Jeremy Piven was in negotiations to star in the upcoming ITV drama series Mr. Selfridge. Today, ITV confirms that the former Entourage star will play the flamboyant and visionary American entrepreneur, Harry Gordon Selfridge (aka “Mile a Minute Harry”) who launched the famous London department store, Selfridge’s. The show is set in 1909 and chronicles Harry’s effort to make shopping as thrilling as sex for the era’s newly-empowered women. The show is based on the book Shopping, Seduction And Mr Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead and was created by Andrew Davies (Bridget Jones’ Diary). A full press release, along with further casting, is below:
Award-winning actor JEREMY PIVEN (Entourage) will lead the cast as American entrepreneur, Harry Gordon Selfridge, in new drama Mr Selfridge (working title), about the life of the flamboyant and visionary American entrepreneur, produced by ITV Studios for ITV1.
Created by multi-award winning writer Andrew Davies, Mr Selfridge tells the story of ‘Mile a Minute Harry’, a man with a mission to make shopping as thrilling as sex. Pioneering and reckless, with an almost manic energy, he created a theatre of retail where any topic or trend that was new, exciting, entertaining – or sometimes just eccentric – was showcased.