Sky, HBO in $250m high-end drama deal

Scripted-logo-460_2Leading pay TV players Sky and HBO are joining forces to create a development slate of high-end dramas that will be worth around US$250 million.

Sky HBOThe pair will aim to develop and co-commission “high-end productions that feature engaging stories with international points of view and casting”.

A panel of execs from both companies will greenlight projects, taking pitches from US and European prodcos. The partners called the initiative “an unrivalled opportunity for production companies to have their content broadcast by two of the leading brands in worldwide television”.

A “consistent” flow of greenlights is expected, with “at least” two dramas projected per year.

The first will air in 2018, with currently unnamed projects are already in development. Announcements are expected “in the coming weeks”.

Sky and HBO have previously coproduced dramas such as The Young Pope, with the former broadcasting shows in the UK, Ireland, Austria, Germany and Italy, and premium player HBO taking rights in the US.

“HBO and Sky have for many years shared a common creative culture and a common vision for the development of high quality drama,” said Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch. “This new venture deepens that relationship, maintains our leadership position in world-class content, provides great opportunities for indies and gives our customers even more opportunity to enjoy brilliant story telling.”

HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler said: “Sky has been a great partner for us and this deal allows even deeper collaboration between our two great companies, which have a long tradition in creating superior content for our customers. Together we represent the best in television and combined we will raise the bar even higher in pay TV programming.”

Sky is currently in the throes of a deal that would see it entirely part of 21st Century Fox, which in 2014 made an opportunistic attempt to buy HBO parent Time Warner in a deal worth more than US$80 billion.

The news comes days after Sky launched its buzzy miniseries Guerrilla across Europe. The paycaster is soon to debut other high-end series such as Riviera and Tin Star, while HBO has made waves with Nicole Kidman-fronted mini Big Little Lies and is working up scripted series such as The Deuce and Room 104.

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