Comcast-backed Sky Studios has taken a minority stake in UK production company The Lighthouse, the drama prodco launched by BBC Studios’ scripted veterans Hilary Salmon, Radford Neville and Nick Betts late last year.
The Lighthouse, which was unveiled in October, will use the Sky Studios investment to develop high-end productions internationally, accelerate its growth and expand its creative team.
Salmon was most recently head of BBC Studios, working on shows including Luther and Richard Gere’s MotherFatherSon, while Neville joined BBCS as head of production for drama series and serials in 2017. He previously worked at The Crown prodco Left Bank Pictures and on shows including Ashes To Ashes.
Betts, BBCS’ former scripted MD, revealed he was leaving the organisation in 2018.
Lighthouse said it already has projects in development including an adaptation of Howard Mark’s cult autobiography, Mr Nice, a co-production with Independent Film Company, written by Neil Forsyth (BBC’s Guilt). The project had previously been with BBC Studios London.
Salmon will also be an executive producer on US-based AMC’s new drama 61st Street, written by Peter Moffat and set in Chicago.
Gary Davey, CEO at Sky Studios said: “Hilary, Radford and Nick are three of the most renowned drama players in the broadcast field today. They share our vision to make thought-provoking, relevant dramas for audiences both in the UK and worldwide. We’re delighted to be working with such a first-class team with an impeccable track record in making brilliant dramas for audiences across the world.”
Cameron Roach, Sky’s director of drama, added: “We look forward to working closely with The Lighthouse team as we evolve the Sky Studios slate. They have an exceptional track record and brilliant talent relationships, which will be important in supporting our ambitions going forward. We’re really thrilled about this partnership.”
Salmon, Neville and Betts, said: “Being backed by an ambitious European broadcaster and global distributor whilst retaining the creative freedom to pursue a wide range of exciting projects really is the perfect combination. From day one, they recognised the strengths of The Lighthouse team and shared our ambition to make intelligent, authentic, modern dramas that audiences will love.”
Sky Studios was established in June last year and has 52 scripted shows in production across Europe. The company has also unveiled plans for Sky Studios Elstree, a major new TV and film studio with 14 sound stages, and is set to double its previous investment in scripted drama to around $1.3bn per year over the next five years.