4Rights, the rights exploitation arm of UK free-to-air broadcaster Channel 4, has inked a development deal with Kinetic Content, the recently inaugurated US indie producer set up by Chris Ceolen, the former boss of RDF USA.
The UK company will provide funding for Kinetic to develop scripted series for US cable and will work with 4Rights’ LA-based programme acquisition consultant Crispin Leyser to work up ‘irreverent 13-part cable dramas, as well as shorter run event miniseries’.
Channel 4 will have creative approval over scripts and 4Rights will have first option for UK rights to the resulting shows, which will likely launch on Channel 4 in the UK. The broadcaster recently acquired upcoming Tandem miniseries The Pillars of the Earth and is keen to look at event programming and the kind of edgy cable fare that Kinetic is working on. 4Rights would not say how much it is committing to the project, but it is understood to be enough to pay for two or three scripts.
“We’re very excited to be working with Chris and his team at Kinetic on this innovative new funding model,” said Dominic Schreiber, rights development manager at 4Rights. “With the explosion of high quality, shorter run cable dramas, there’s a real opportunity for us to get involved in developing and co-funding US series that we know will deliver ratings for Channel 4 as well as generate considerable secondary revenues for 4Rights.”
Coelen set up Kinetic earlier this year. Prior to running RDF USA, he was an agent at talent agency UTA. It is understood that he and new Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham had discussed a similar funding model for scripted programming to the one 4Rights has announced when Abraham was running UK cable channel group UKTV.