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MTG’s free TV, VOD arms join for drama

Modern Times Group’s free-to-air channel TV3 and online streaming service Viaplay are to coproduce a Nordic drama based on Finnish scripted series Black Widows.

Jakob Mejlhede AndersenShooting on the eight-part series, which stars Peter Stormare (Fargo) begins this summer ahead of a premiere in Sweden, Norway and Denmark next year.

Stormare will play the male lead opposite three prominent but currently unnamed female actors in the character-led crime drama. The format follows the three women after they murder their respective husbands.

“I’m excited that TV3 is going into drama and even more excited to be a part of it”, said Stormare.

The original Black Widows, titled locally as Mustat Lesket, debuted on Finland’s Nelonen in 2014, and has gone on to become the territory’s best-performing drama ever with a share of 30%. MTG-owned Moskito Television produced the show.

CBS put a US remake into development last year with former HBO Entertainment president Sue Naegle attached, following a deal with format distributor DRG.

The new one is the latest example of the value subscription on-demand platforms are placing on original programming as a means of attracting customers. Viaplay has been looking to commission a series for some time as it battles against rivals such as Netflix and HBO Nordic.

“We have been looking for the perfect project to co-produce between our TV channels and Viaplay and we believe Black Widows will capture audiences both on screen and online,” said Jakob Mejlhede Andersen, MTG’s executive VP, programming and content development (pictured).

Mejlhede Andersen oversees programming and acquisitions for MTG’s free, pay and the pan-Nordic Viaplay platform. He was recently promoted to the Viasat-owned broadcaster’s executive management team.

“Cross-border drama has increased in popularity quite a lot in recent years, and with Black Widows we have a winning drama concept for multiple platforms in multiple countries,” said Morten Mogensen, chief content officer for MTG’s Scandinavian free TV unit.