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HBO Europe adds UK drama veteran, starts Easy Living

Easy-LivingHBO Europe has recruited the former drama boss at UK prodco TalkbackThames as it continues its drive into original programming under the stewardship of Antony Root, TBI has learned.

The European arm of the US cable giant has brought on Johnathan Young, who has a long list of executive producing credits at TalkBackThames (subsequently split up by FremantleMedia UK), and UK pubcaster the BBC. These include 80 episodes of medical drama Casualty and almost 100 of spin-off its series Holby City.

HBO Europe programming chief Root also confirmed production is underway on a new eight-part Hungarian crime drama, Easy Living (original version pictured).

Young also exec produced long running UK police series The Bill for several years and was a commissioner at UK commercial broadcaster Channel 4. He joined HBO Europe around the same time as Steve Matthews, the producer of The Borgias, who came on board late last year, and both are now working on the channel operator’s new dramas in Europe.

“Johnathan Young joined as an executive producer to support our production teams in the field,” Root, HBO Europe executive VP, programming and production, told TBI. “He is initially working with them on The Pact [the local title for Mammon] in Poland and Mammon in the Czech Republic both of which are six-part series and currently shooting.”

Antony Root

Antony Root

He added: “Johnathan brings a wealth of experience as a series producer and executive producer and former drama commissioning editor at Channel 4.”

HBO Europe’s growing slate of originals includes Umbre, a Romanian adaptation of Australian comedy drama Small Time Gangster and Polish series Wataha (The Pack).

It also has the abovementioned versions of hit Scandi drama series Mammon in the works, having already made political drama Burning Bush and several versions of In Treatment and Shall We Kiss.

Root added that as the volume of original output continues to grow, the new enlarged team is supporting these production efforts on-the-ground in Central and Eastern Europe.

The programming team also includes Wayne Henry, who is vice president, original programming and production. He will work on the Hungarian adaptation of Easy Living.

Umbre

Umbre

“Wayne Henry continues as an executive producer headquartered in Budapest where, along with Steve Matthews, he is executive producing our new eight-part drama series Easy Living,” Root said.

The crime drama originated in Finland and ran to three seasons on commercial channel MTV3. It follows a family man on the edge who is forced to commit crime to pay his debts and earn a living.

It was produced by Moskito, one of the prodcos now part of MTG-owned Nice Entertainment. MTG’s content distribution business DRG sells the show and struck the format deal with HBO Europe.

It marked the latest deal between the pair, with DRG also distributing HBO Europe original series Umbre, having sold it the Mammon format and optioned it the NRK format Eyewitness for Romania.