From Hugh Laurie to Idris Elba and Dominic West, there’s a history of British actors heading to America to ply their trade on U.S. TV. Now, with increasingly provocative drama spurred on in part by the UK’s high-end tax credit, a handful of American women have begun a mini-trend on British telly in the past year. After Gillian Anderson in The Fall and Elisabeth Moss in Top Of The Lake, along comes Maggie Gyllenhaal who just debuted as the protagonist of BBC Two’s eight-part miniseries The Honourable Woman. The series was originally commissioned by BBC Two and is a co-production from BBC Worldwide and Sundance Channel in the U.S. The first episode aired late last week in the UK to favorable reviews and solid ratings with an average 2.13M viewers and a 10.6% share. It hits the States on July 31 — sans the “u” in the title. The fast-paced, labyrinthine thriller is set against an international political backdrop and centers on Nessa Stein (Gyllenhaal), whose father was a Zionist arms procurer. As children, she and her brother were witness to his assassination. As an adult, inheriting her father’s company, Stein dramatically inverts its purpose from supplying arms to laying high-spec data cabling networks between Israel and the West Bank. Her sudden appointment to the House of Lords, apparently due to her tireless promotion of projects for reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians, creates an international political maelstrom. …
Expanding its European reach, AMC Networks‘ AMC/Sundance Channel Global is buying Frankfurt-based KinoweltTV. The pay-TV channel airs classic and contemporary films and is distributed to 4.5 million subscribers throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The acquisition provides the international arm of AMC Networks with distribution across all platforms in German-speaking Europe for the first time. AMC has been actively growing its overseas presence; last year, it paid about $1B for Chellomedia which produces and distributes TV channels across such territories as the UK, Benelux, Central Europe, Spain and Latin America, and reaches about 390 million households. Founded in 2004, KinoweltTV was the first German TV station completely dedicated to high-class feature films; it now offers European and American cult movies, indies, arthouse fare, classics and monthly retrospectives. The channel’s existing management will join the AMC/Sundance Channel Global team which is led by Bruce Tuchman. Achim Apell will continue as KinoweltTV’s Managing Director. Financial terms of the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, were not disclosed.
Sundance Channel‘s drama Rectify will return for its season season on Thursday, June 19 at 9 PM. The first season of the network’s first original scripted series followed one week in the life of a man (Aden Young) after his release from prison and a Death Row sentence into a world he no longer understands. Production is underway on Season 2 in Georgia on the series, created and written by Ray McKinnon and executive produced by Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein. Abigail Spencer, J. Smith-Cameron, Luke Kirby, Clayne Crawford and Adelaide Clemens co-star. Sundance Channel renewed the series for 10 episodes a week after the drama premiered. The network’s second scripted series, Red Road, debuted February 27.
Sundance Channel‘s second original scripted series The Red Road debuts Stateside on February 27. In a move that dovetails with the launch of the Sundance London film and music festival, and as Sundance ups its international profile, the six-part series will premiere simultaneously on Sundance Channel on April 24 in Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, and European territories including France, Iberia, Benelux, Poland and CEE. AMC/Sundance Channel Global acquired the rights from eOne which is handling international for all original scripted series from AMC and Sundance under a pact signed in September. The Red Road revolves around a local cop (Martin Henderson) struggling to keep his family together while policing two clashing communities. Jason Momoa, Julianne Nicholson and Tamara Tunie also star. Writer Aaron Guzikowski and Sarah Condon are exec producing and Bridget Carpenter is executive producer/showrunner. James Gray directed the first episode.
Beginning in February, Sundance Channel will be known as SundanceTV, leading up to the premiere of the network’s newest original scripted series The Red Road. The rebrand supports Sundance’s commitment to creating fresh and daring original programming, Sundance Channel said today in a statement. The new design will feature a streamlined logo in a modern sans serif font and neutral palette. Additionally, the network is introducing a new website, www.sundance.tv.
TCA: Sundance’s ‘The Red Road’ Creator Aaron Guzikowski Defends Affability; Star Martin Henderson Defends New Zealand Birthplace
Aaron Guzikowski is probably used to critics wondering “what kind of sick, twisted mind” (LAT) could dream up his dark, psychological thrillers, like Prisoners and Sundance’s new drama series The Red Road.
“You’re an affable guy” one TV critic noted with surprise this morning Guzikowski came to Winter TV Press Tour 2014 to talk about the Sundance project debuting February 27. The critic wondered how such an affable guy could “relish your darker side” and asked him to speak about this “passion.”
“For darkness? I came from a pretty happy upbringing, but my mother was obsessed with horror novels and my father with science fiction,” he responded, affably. “Horror and darkness always felt comfortable to me — an escape from the banalities of things that drag me down. There’s something kind of beautiful about it.”
Canal Plus’s The Returned (Les Revenants) is probably the hottest global drama format at the moment. The stylish zombie series, a breakout hit in France and number of international territories, just won an International Emmy for Best Drama series and has a high-profile remake in the works at A&E with Carlton Cuse. Now Sundance Channel, which had acquired the first eight-episode season of the series, launching it this past Halloween, has picked up The Returned‘s upcoming second season, which is about to go into production, in a deal with Zodiak Rights. It will debut in the US in late 2014. “The Returned has proven to be an incredible addition to our slate,” said Sundance president Sarah Barnett. “We were delighted with the overwhelming critical and fan response to the series and we expect that season two will continue to seduce and chill audiences.” Created by Fabrice Gobert, Les Revenants was inspired by the 2004 feature film by the same name directed by Robin Campillo. It is set in an idyllic French mountain town where a seemingly random collection of people find themselves in a state of confusion as they attempt to return to their homes without realizing that they have been dead for several years. ABC’s similarly themed drama Resurrection premieres on March 9.
Sundance Channel‘s second original scripted series The Red Road will debut at 9 PM on February 27, the channel said today. The six-episode dramatic thriller centers around local sheriff (Martin Henderson) as he struggles to keep his family together while simultaneously policing two clashing communities: the small town where he grew up just outside of New York City, and the neighboring mountains — home of a federally unrecognized Native American tribe. After a tragedy and cover-up, an uneasy alliance is forged between the officer and a dangerous member of the tribe, and the lives of both unravel, leading to terrible consequences (see trailer below). Jason Momoa, Julianne Nicholson, Tamara Tunie, Annalise Basso, Allie Gonino, Kiowa Gordon, Lisa Bonet and Tom Sizemore also star. The Red Road hails from writer Aaron Guzikowski (Contraband, Prisoners) and producer Sarah Condon (Bored To Death). Guzikowski and Condon executive produce and Bridget Carpenter is executive producer and showrunner. James Gray (The Immigrant, Two Lovers, We Own The Night) directed the first episode.
Sundance Channel’s first original scripted series Rectify returns for a second season in 2014. The channel will also premiere the original mini-series The Honorable Woman in 2014.
Check out the trailer:
Sundance Channel‘s latest original non-fiction series is Loredana, ESQ, a six-episode hourlong that traces the life of Loredana Nesci, a former LAPD officer-turned-lawyer as she navigates the criminal defense system and grapples with the question: What is legal and what is right? The series, from Go Go Luckey Prods, is in production and slated to premiere in March. After earning a reputation as a legal crusader, Nesci cultivated a thriving law practice where she defends those who sorely need it — not hardened criminals, just regular people, some of whom may have made bad choices and find themselves judged and condemned. This series dives into one defense attorney’s unconventional and potent passion for discovering the truth and doing what she thinks needs to be done. Go Go Luckey’s Julie Auerbach, Henry Capanna, Tina Gazzerro, Sandy Guthrie, Laura Keats and Robert Misseri executive produce; Nicole Defusco and Jon Grosskopf produce for Sundance.
EXCLUSIVE: The nation’s heated debate about guns and the Second Amendment is becoming the subject of a primetime drama series. Sundance Channel has put into development Cold Dead Hands, a family drama set against the backdrop of the National Rifle Association.
The project, whose title stems from the popular NRA slogan, will be written by author-journalist Scott Gold and produced by Tony Krantz’s Flame Ventures (NBC’s Dracula). It centers on the fictional and polarizing head of the NRA, Trip Thibodeaux, and the drama that swirls around him both at work and at home. Trip is a father and husband — and he also happens to be the nation’s most powerful gun-rights advocate and the de facto CEO of the gun industry. A charismatic and polarizing figure, he’ll be forced to navigate a volatile landscape in American culture and politics, as well as crises of his own faith, when his rarefied world spirals out of control. “The debate over gun violence and gun rights has many sides, and in order to help protect lives, promote gun safety and build a national consensus on the issues, we want to respect and understand all sides of this story,” Krantz said. Krantz and Gold will executive produce, with Flame’s Reece Pearson serving as co-executive producer.
Gold, repped by Verve, Media Talent Group …
Bresaz comes to AMC from its sister network Sundance Channel where he served as VP of original programming and development. At Sundance Channel, Bresaz developed and oversaw the hit series Push Girls, and also guided development and production of the first seasons of Dream School and The Writers’ Room. Prior to joining the network in 2010, Bresaz held senior programming and development positions at TV Land, Spike TV and ABC Daytime, where he served as a production executive on both One Life To Live and All My Children.
EOne, Sundance Channel Partner To Adapt ‘Reaching For Heaven’; Israeli Religion-Themed Drama Relocated To Vegas
EXCLUSIVE: Last month, I reported that Entertainment One Television had picked up the format rights to Israeli drama Reaching For Heaven from Tal Shaked and Einat Shamier’s local outfit A-Cappella. EOne has now partnered with Sundance Channel to co-develop the series based on the format that was originally created by Norma Productions’ Assaf Amir. The U.S. version of the show about what happens to a marriage and family when one parent suddenly becomes religious, will be written by Mike Seid, who will transfer the story to Las Vegas. The original Reaching For Heaven was based on Ora Morag’s novel One Hundred New Apples. It followed a secular Israeli family whose patriarch turns to ultra-Orthodox Judaism. All members of the family do their best to preserve unity, but none are willing to join the father on his new journey to a religious life. The series ran locally for two seasons on Keshet.
EOne EVP of global productions Carrie Stein tells me that Seid, a modern orthodox Jew living in LA, pitched the transfer to Vegas and eOne was hooked. “His position was that it doesn’t really matter if you’re exploring” any religion, “it’s the premise of somebody breaking the marriage and family contract.”
EXCLUSIVE: Sundance Channel has recruited some unusual contributors for the awards campaign in support of its original series Rectify. Works of incarcerated artists are included in The Rectify Project: Visions from Inside via the Safe Streets Arts Foundation, part of the nonprofit Prisons Foundation which publishes books and poetry written in prison as free downloads. The unorthodox campaign ties thematically into the series about Daniel Holden (Aden Young), a man who turns to literature during his two decades on death row before being released from prison. The full collection can be seen online here. Rectify is Sundance Channel’s first original series and is set to return for a second season in 2014. Check out an exclusive image from the campaign by recently released Georgia artist Curtis Anthony Dye:
Sundance Channel has acquired U.S. broadcast rights to the eight-part French supernatural drama The Returned from Music Box Films. The series, created by Fabrice Gobert and distributed by Zodiak Rights, is based on the feature film Les Revenants by Robin Campillo. It will premiere on Sundance Channel on Halloween, October 31, and air every Thursday night at 9 PM. “We decided to take zombies to a new and utterly original level — we made them French!” stated Sarah Barnett, President of Sundance Channel. In an idyllic French mountain town, a seemingly random collection of people find themselves in a state of confusion as they attempt to return to their homes. What they don’t know yet is that they have been dead for several years, and no one is expecting them back. Their arrival also coincides with a series of gruesome murders which bear a chilling resemblance to the work of a serial killer from the past. The Returned was a breakout hit for France’s Canal Plus when it premiered last fall and also did very well on UK’s Channel 4, drawing an average of 1.5 viewers. A second season of eight episodes goes into production in France in early 2014. The Sundance acquisition comes on the heels of Zodiak selling The Returned‘s U.S. rights to Music Box, which announced a VOD/DVD release set for January. There also is an English-language adaptation in the works.
The deal with eOne is AMC and Sundance Channel’s first exclusive international output partnership for scripted content. The parties already have a relationship with eOne the studio and international distributor behind AMC’s Hell On Wheels, and along with Fox International Channels, it’s the international distributor on The Walking Dead. The first series eOne will distribute internationally under the new pact are Halt & Catch Fire, a 1980s-set drama about the personal computing boom with Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy and Mackenzie Davis; Turn, a period drama based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington Spies and starring Jamie Bell; and The Red Road, about a local cop (Martin Henderson) struggling to keep his family together while policing two clashing communities. Click over for details:
Sundance Channel has assembled the international cast of its eight-part miniseries The Honourable Woman starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and directed by Hugo Blick. Joining Gyllenhaal is Stephen Rea (The Shadow Line) as Hugh Hayden-Hoyle — a top MI6 spy on the verge of retirement, digging deep into the family of Nessa Stein (Gyllenhaal). His bitter ex-wife Anjelica is played by Lindsay Duncan (The Hollow Crown). Janet McTeer (Damages) plays the Head of MI6 Julia Walsh, who has a personal hold over Hayden-Hoyle (Rea).
Jason Momoa, who toplined 2011′s Conan reboot and appeared on HBO’s Game Of Thrones, has been cast in Sundance Channel‘s second original scripted series The Red Road. The project, formerly known as The Descendants, has a straight-to-series six-episode order. It’s described as a hard-hitting drama that revolves around Harold Jensen, a sheriff struggling to keep his family together while simultaneously policing two clashing communities: the small town where he grew up and the neighboring Ramapo Mountains, home of the Ramapo Mountain Indians. Momoa will play Indian ex-con Phillip Kopus. Julianne Nicholson had already been cast as the female lead. Writer Aaron Guzikowski and Sarah Condon are exec producing and Bridget Carpenter will serve as executive producer/showrunner. The first Sundance original series, Rectify, has been a critical success and returns for a second season next year.
Sundance Channel has picked up The Honourable Woman, a miniseries to star Maggie Gyllenhaal. The eight-part mini, originally commissioned by U.K.’s BBC Two last year, will be done as a co-production with BBC Worldwide, North America. Written and directed by BAFTA winner Hugo Blick (The Shadow Line), Honourable Woman is described as a fast-paced, labyrinthine thriller set against an international political backdrop that carries Blick’s distinctive rhythmic style and vision. It centers on Nessa Stein’s (Gyllenhaal) whose father was a Zionist arms procurer, and as children, she and her brother witness his assassination. As an adult, inheriting her father’s company, she dramatically inverts its purpose from supplying arms to laying high-spec data cabling networks between Israel and the West Bank. Her sudden appointment to the House of Lords, apparently due to her tireless promotion of projects for reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians, creates an international political maelstrom.
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Julianne Nicholson (Boardwalk Empire, Law & Order: CI) has been cast as the female lead in Sundance Channel’s new drama series The Descendants. The project, which has a straight-to-series six-episode order, is described as a hard-hitting drama that revolves around Harold Jensen, a sheriff struggling to keep his family together while simultaneously policing two clashing communities: the small town where he grew up and the neighboring Ramapo Mountains, home of the Ramapo Mountain Indians. After a terrible tragedy and cover-up occurs involving the sheriff’s wife, Jean (Nicholson), an unholy alliance is forged between the sheriff and a dangerous member of the tribe that will come back to haunt all involved. Jean, an over-controlling and over-bearing recovering alcoholic who seems to suffer from dementia stemming from her alcohol use and the loss of her brother, goes on a rampage when she finds her daughter has run off with her new boyfriend. Nicholson, repped by CAA and Davien Littlefield, is a member of the star-studded cast of the John Wells-directed feature August: Osage County, which opens on Christmas Day. The Descendants is executive produced by writer Aaron Guzikowski, showrunner Bridget Carpenter and Sarah Condon.