Dutch media entrepreneur John De Mol‘s Talpa Media Holdings has established new joint ventures in the UK, Italy and the Nordic region. The moves give Talpa the ability to produce local versions of formats from its own catalogue for TV channels in the respective markets, an increasing trend among players. Warner Bros‘ Shed Media Group has partnered with Talpa for Talpa UK. The partners are already in business on The Voice UK; De Mol co-created the format which is produced by Shed’s Wall to Wall. The new deal gives Shed exclusive access to the Talpa catalogue, including new reality show Utopia, which was picked up by Fox in the U.S. in January. Along with Wall to Wall, Shed houses six other UK production companies including Ricochet and Twenty Twenty. De Mol initially said he was looking to establish a UK-based company in 2012. In Italy, Talpa has teamed with Toro TV for Talpa Italia and in Northern Europe it will work with Nordisk Film TV in Scandinavia together with Banijay Finland in Finland via Talpa Nordic. Pim Schmitz, CEO of Talpa Holding, says, “In producing our formats, we’re used to working as co-producers together with local parties all over the world. What we’re now doing in the UK, Italy and the Northern European countries goes a step further. Talpa will now produce under its own brand, and for us …
A rash of acquisitions of European and U.S. independent production companies has been steadily spreading over the past year and a bit. One exec says, “We joke that there’s a transaction a day.” Leading the charge is the UK’s ITV, which has been on a shopping spree since it first bought a controlling stake in Duck Dynasty maker Gurney Productions in late 2012. Also acquisitive has been the Pro Sieben-owned Red Arrow, which recently bought Say Yes To The Dress maker Half Yard Prods. But it’s a two-way street: NBCUniversal already owns Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films in the UK as well as Monkey Kingdom and Chocolate Media, among others. Warner Bros last month entered an agreement to take over the global interests, outside the U.S., of Dutch company Eyeworks, and has a majority stake in UK production group Shed Media. Core Media is also known to have its eyes open to UK purchases. What’s more, many of these outfits also own companies in the hot Nordic region. And now there’s word that giant FremantleMedia may be moving in on vast group All3Media. A TV industry exec says, “We had the super-indies and now there’s a new breed of mega-indies.” If FremantleMedia acquires All3Media, it would create what an observer describes as “a very big beast.” Fremantle is a large group with significant turnover and some of their properties are getting older, an exec suggests. “It’s very difficult to replace that scale just through new productions.” However, I’m cautioned that should a deal be done, it won’t be in the imminent future.
So what’s been driving all this consolidation and cross-pollination? For one, with TV channels proliferating in the U.S., whether it be via basic cable or digital platforms, foreign outfits see a prime opportunity to establish a foothold and build scale. In the reverse, U.S. companies moving into the booming UK production sector know that broadcasters are doling out a lot of cash for original content.
Mip-TV: Warner Takes Format Rights To BBC’s ‘The Link’; FremantleMedia Intl To Sell ‘Lindsay’; Keshet’s Avi Nir To Keynote; The Company, Dori Media Partner
Warner Bros International Television Production has acquired format rights to distribute BBC One’s new quiz show, The Link. BBC One has commissioned 25 episodes for a daytime slot. The show is produced by STV Productions in association with LTV. Not to be confused with the BBC’s The Weakest Link, the game show pits teams against each other as they race to find the link between questions. Guess the connections, break the links, win money. “We know that great game shows are back at the top of broadcasters’ wish lists. The Link is that rare thing — an original new quiz show with a strong identity in terms of both its game play and visual elements, commissioned in a key market. Our excitement is shared by Mike Darnell and his team at the Warner Bros Television Group, who will be bringing it to market in the U.S.,” says WBITP’s Andrew Zein. The UK version of the show will be hosted by actor Mark Williams, best known as Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. Gary Chippington is executive producer for STV Productions, Jo Street is executive producer for the BBC and Paul Johnson is executive producer for LTV and Tuvalu Entertainment Ltd.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Colombia Orders 60 Episodes Of ‘ER’; ‘Tbilisi, I Love You’ Hits Georgia Theaters In February; More
Colombia Paging ‘ER’ With 60-Episode Order
ER is going Latino. Warner Bros International Television Production today announced the first Latin American format deal for the seminal medical series. RCN, Fox International Channels and TC have commissioned a local-language version for Colombia with a 60-episode order. Colombia’s Resonant is producing for air this spring. Originally produced in the U.S. by Constant c Productions and Amblin Television in association with Warner Bros Television, the series premiered on NBC in 1994 and ran for 15 seasons. It is the most Emmy-nominated series in history with 124 and notably helped kickstart the careers of George Clooney and Julianna Margulies. “Even though ER is a fundamental American series, its characters and situations are so strong, moving and universal that will surely find a place in the hearts of Latin American audiences,” said Fernando Gaitan, RCN’s VP Content and Production. “We are eager to have it on our screen.”
‘Tbilisi, I Love You’ Opening Next Month In Georgia
Tbilisi, I Love You, part of Emmanuel Benbihy’s Cities Of Love franchise that started with Paris Je T’Aime and New York, I Love You, has set a February 20 release date in Georgia. The movie is a series of 10 short films that are written and directed by natives of Georgia and take on a personal narrative about the republic’s capital city. Malcolm McDowell and Ron Perlman both feature. McDowell’s vignette centers on an actor who reluctantly agrees to a one-month shoot in Tbilisi and develops a love affair with the city. Perlman’s short sees him as a nameless American motorcyclist who rides through Tbilisi’s remote areas with a woman named Freedom. Tbilisi, I Love You is produced by Storyman Pictures David and Nika Agiashvili. Credo Cinema’s Jason Speer, Ever So Close’s Benbihy, as well as Paata Trapaidze are exec producers. A festival schedule is being determined. In the meantime, here’s a trailer:
Warner Bros isn’t talking, but Dutch media is reporting today that the company is in talks to acquire Netherlands-based TV producer Eyeworks, Reuters said. Warner Bros International Television Production already has a majority stake in UK production group Shed Media and in BlazHoffski Holdingan, an indie producer that operates in The Netherlands and Belgium. Eyeworks produces and distributes unscripted programs in 16 countries including many in Europe as well as the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and Latin America. Among its shows are Celebrity Splash, Extreme Weight Loss, Test The Nation and I Know What You Did Last Friday. European production companies have been increasingly attractive acquisitions targets in general over the last year, with ITV taking majority stakes in the UK’s Big Talk, The Garden and So Television while Modern Times Group bought Nordic outfit Nice Entertainment and FremantleMedia took controlling interest in Denmark’s Miso Film. Also, NBCUniversal owns Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’ To Close Camerimage; Asia Pacific Screen Awards Nominees Announced; More
‘The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’ To Close Camerimage Fest
Camerimage, the international film festival of the art of cinematography, said today that Ben Stiller’s new comedy-drama The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty will close the 21st edition of the festival, which runs November 16-23 in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Stiller also stars in the film alongside Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn and Adam Scott. Also, director Terry Gilliam and cinematographer Nicola Pecorini will present their sci-fi drama The Zero Theorem as the second opening film (following Saving Mr. Banks), which will be part of the festival’s Opening Gala at the Opera Nova. Gilliam received the fest’s Camerimage Special Award to the Director with Unique Visual Sensitivity in 2009, when he and Pecorini presented their film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
Nominations For 7th Asia Pacific Screen Awards Announced
Nominations for the seventh annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards were unveiled today. Six movies will vie for Best Feature Film: Omar (Palestine), The Past (France, Italy), Like Father, Like Son (Japan), The Turning (Australia), With You, Without You (Sri Lanka) and Television, the first film from Bangladesh ever to earn an Asia Pacific nom. The mentions for When I Saw You (Jordan) and Wadjda (Saudi Arabia) also are the first for their respective countries. Five films earned two mentions apiece: Television, Like Father, Like Son, The Old Man, The Past and My Sweet Pepperland (Iraq-Kurdistan-France-Germany). In all, 39 films from 21 Asia Pacific nations are up for the awards, which will be handed out December 12 at City Hall in Brisbane, Australia. The full is of nominees is here.
USA Network is lending voice to The Choir. The UK format produced by Twenty Twenty has been picked up by the net for a 10-episode run starting in February. Gareth Malone, known to U.S. audiences for hosting the British version of the show on BBC America, will front the USA take as he develops 10 individual choirs in different locations throughout the States. Each episode culminates with a “defining performance” and a “substantial emotional ending.” Twenty Twenty is part of the UK’s Shed Media Group, which is owned by Time Warner. Shed Media U.S. will produce the American version of The Choir, to be exec produced by Sam Whittaker and Stephanie Schwam. Warner Bros International Television Production will handle international distribution.
Shed Media Group, controlled by Warner Bros International Television Production, has acquired a majority stake in UK TV production company Renegade Pictures. The company specializes in factual entertainment formats and documentaries. Founded in 2006 by Alan Hayling, Alex Cooke and Jon Rowlands, Renegade’s slate includes BBC Three reality show Don’t Tell The Bride, BBC Two’s World’s Most Dangerous Roads, Death Unexplained for BBC One and ITV’s Popstar To Operastar. Former BBC commissioner Harry Lansdown is editorial director at Renegade and, along with the existing team, will continue to operate independently from their London base. The company’s output will now be distributed by Warner Bros. Shed’s other brands include Shed Productions (Waterloo Road, Footballers Wives), Wall to Wall (The Voice UK), Twenty Twenty (World’s Strictest Parents) and Ricochet (The Bachelor UK).
(March 28, 2012 — Burbank, CA) — Warner Bros. International Television Production (WBITVP) is delighted to be bringing to the world’s television market the format rights for one of the most successful TV series, ER, it was announced today by WBITVP’s Andrew Zein, Senior Vice President, Creative Format Development and Sales.
First broadcast in 1994 on NBC, ER’s 331-episode run became the most Emmy®-nominated primetime series in U.S. television history. It has been sold to over 50 countries as a finished programme – both in English language and dubbed for local audiences.
Careful, B: There’s a new Gossip Girl on her way to China. The creators of the popular CW drama are teaming with Chinese production companies Mei Tian and H&R Century TV along with Metan Development Group and Warner Bros International Television Production to develop a local teen drama that will focus on the lives of status-conscious students at Shanghai International University. Metan — the folks behind the popular series Hello! Hollywood – and WBITVP are consulting on the development and production, with cameras due to roll in June after a nationwide casting search. Because China’s state authority has to clear all scripts, it’s likely the local series won’t be quite as risqué as the CW version, which has a large online fanbase in China. According to the release below, the students in the new show are “confused and lost, however over time, they discover who they really are and eventually find the right path to pursue their dreams.” The 30-episode series is to debut in November. Here’s the release announcing the deal: