News round-up: FilmRise snags ‘MythBusters’; Nat Geo goes underground with Blink; Quibi orders adult animation; UKTV grabs ‘The Bill’


FilmRise takes on MythBusters & Deadly Women sales

New York-based acquisition and distribution company FilmRise has acquired select international streaming rights to science show MythBusters and true crime series Deadly Women following a deal with Beyond Distribution.

The company will distribute Deadly Women in the UK and MythBusters in both the UK and Australia.

FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher said: “We are thrilled to begin our partnership with Beyond Distribution by helping to expand the reach of their amazing shows MythBusters and Deadly Women.

“Streaming audiences adore shows that debunk myths and solve mysteries, so we are confident they will be enjoyed amongst our streaming partner platforms, both in the SVOD and ad-supported space.”

X-Ray Earth

Nat Geo goes underground with Blink

UK-and-Ireland-based prodco Blink Films has been commissioned to make X-Ray Earth, a new three-part docuseries, for National Geographic Channels worldwide.

The 3 x 60-minute series, which will air globally this spring and summer, combines the latest scientific data and cutting-edge graphics technology to take viewers on a journey to some of the most incredible locations deep beneath the surface of our planet.

Dan Chambers and Justine Kershaw, joint creative directors at Blink Films commented: “Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions are all driven by hidden forces and faults deep inside the Earth. The crucial questions for scientists are when will they stir? What will they do? And how will it impact us? X-Ray Earth uses the latest technology and the world’s leading experts to give us the answers.”

Quibi orders hellish animation from Look Mom!

Quibi, the just-launched short-form streaming platform, has ordered a new animated adult comedy from Look Mom! Productions, a Blue Ant Studios company.

The series, which was created by writer, director and producer Josh O’Keefe, with the working title of Doomlands, follows the story of Danny Doom and aspiring bartender Lhandi as they sling beers across a hellish wasteland from their mobile subterranean pub – the Oasis.

“When I was first introduced to Josh O’Keefe’s concept for Doomlands, I immediately loved the idea of a motley crew of characters roaming around a wasteland in a subterranean vehicle that doubles as a bar. The only thing I was disappointed in is the fact that there isn’t a bar that exists like this in real life,” said Josh Bowen, Doomlands EP and creative director of Look Mom! Productions.

“We couldn’t have found better partners in Quibi and can’t wait for the Oasis to roll onto screens across Canada and the US.”

The Bill

The Bill hits the UKTV Play beat

UKTV’s VOD service, UKTV Play, has secured exclusive rights to police procedural drama, The Bill following a deal with Fremantle.

The long-running British drama ran for 26 years, from 1984 to 2010, and followed the lives of police officers working at the fictional Sun Hill Police Station in East London.

Series 1-5 of The Bill will start streaming on 1 May, with a further series being made available at the start of each month.

Jamie Lynn, EVP head of EMEA distribution, international, at Fremantle said: “We’re delighted to support UKTV to bring more classic episodes of The Bill to UKTV Play at a time when we know audiences are looking to rediscover some of their favourite TV moments.”

Hulu Japan preps One World free stream

Hulu Japan is to stream forthcoming Covid-19 support show One World: Together At Home for free via its service.

The show, which will become available on 19 April, has been launched by international advocacy organisation Global Citizen and the World Health Organisation.

It will attempt to show unity among all people who are affected by Covid-19 and will also celebrate and support healthcare workers doing life-saving work on the front lines.

The programme has been curated in collaboration with Lady Gaga and will include performances and appearances by Alicia Keys, Amy Poehler, Andrea Bocelli, Awkwafina, Billie Eilish, Chris Martin, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez and Oprah Winfrey among numerous others.

The Outbreak

Russia’s Start welcomes The Outbreak

Russian streamer Start has become the first international operator to pick up The Outbreak (aka Epidemie), the Canadian series exploring the propagation of a dangerous virus in the city of Montreal.

The thriller premiered on Canadian TV channel TVA in December and was produced by domestic porodco Sphère Media.

It tells the story of a medical worker who uncovers a mysterious virus that threatens many lives.

The deal with Start, part of media and entertainment group Yellow, Black And White, was struck by sales outfit Oble.

Disney India adds Cosmos-Maya trio

Disney India has added three shows from animation studio Cosmos-Maya to its service, which will premiere later in the summer.

Guddu, Bapu and Gadget Guru Ganesha will all be available via the Mouse House in India, joining other Cosmos-Maya original series such as Titoo and Lambuji Tinguji, which were greenlit by Turner India for their channels Cartoon Network and Pogo.

Anish Mehta, CEO at Cosmos-Maya, said: “As partners we have both have tasted great success with the hit show Selfie With Bajrangi, and just like Bajrangi, these three shows are also in line with Cosmos-Maya’s USP of creating series that combine ‘novelty with relatability’.”

Mehta added that the company had been able to keep production rolling despite the lockdown, explaining: “For a studio the size of Cosmos-Maya, it was no small task to keep operations running, but crisis or no crisis, the show must go on.

“We have kept production operations running remotely from home to ensure that children are kept engaged and entertained at home.”

Nova Vita

USATV seeks home for new crime series Nova Vita

USATV Productions says that its completed crime drama Nova Vita is ready for broadcast and looking for a distributor.

Created by USATB’s Bagrat and Vaagn Sargsyan, the 10-part series follows two friends who work in the cryptocurrency business and find themselves in legal trouble.

The only way to escape the consequences is to fake their own deaths with the help of a company named Nova Vita that helps billionaires to stage their deaths and create their new identities, appearances and lives. However, the two men’s troubles are far from over as their families are torn apart and the FBI begins to suspect that something is amiss.

The series stars Jared Farid Ward and Micah Hauptman, alongside Robert Knepper and Titus Welliver.

“We decided to announce the completed project now as we believe Nova Vita will be a much welcomed escape for TV audiences around the world facing these difficult times,” says Bagrat Sargsyan. “The high concept thriller is a very popular genre with viewers, both young and  old. We can see what has resonated on Netflix, Amazon and HBO and Nova Vita will be a plug and play series for the right outlet.”

Caroline Clarke appointed to Allrites SVP role

Caroline Clarke

Caroline Clarke has been appointed as the new SVP of business development at Asian content marketplace Allrites.

Caroline has 25 years in sales and business development in the media and entertainment industry. She previously served as senior sales manager for Sky Vision, the production and distribution arm of Sky, where she handled international sales to Asia across all media genres. Before that, she held posts at companies including CBS, INT and Paramount in the UK, Australia and Singapore.

Her new responsibilities will include the formation of business partnerships with the content buyers globally, as well as planning and execution of strategies to increase sales, clients’ satisfaction and Allrites growth.

The Bureau

The Bureau’s fifth season goes global in slew of deals

The AMC Networks-owned US Sundance TV channel and Australian pubcaster SBS are among a host of global broadcasters to pick up the fifth season of spy thriller series The Bureau from French distributor Federation Entertainment.

The latest run of the series, co-produced by The Oligarchs Productions and Federation Entertainment, premiered on Canal+ in France this month. It is now headed to Sundance in the US, Canada and the UK, SBS in Australia, Rialto in New Zealand, RTBF, VRT and BeTV in Belgium, SVT in Sweden, MTVA in Hungary, LNK in Lithuania, NRK in Norway and YLE in Finland.

Broadcasters in Spain, Italy, Russia, Poland, and Denmark are also already in talks regarding the acquisition of season five.

A couple of territories have also recently snatched up all five seasons – Germany, for the ProSieben Group’s Joyn PLUS+ platform and Joint Entertainment in Taiwan.

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