News round-up: Stan in Oz snags ‘Baker & The Beauty’; Red Arrow’s ‘Protection’ partnership; ITV & BBC mentor scheme

The Baker And The Beauty

Stan snags The Baker And The Beauty

Australian streamer Stan has acquired US drama The Baker And The Beauty, one of a number of deals struck by Israel’s Keshet International (KI).

The show, produced by Universal Television and ABC Studios in association with Keshet Studios, will premiere day and date with its American debut on ABC from 14 April. The 9 x 60-minute feel-good rom-com follows the unlikely romance ignited when the lives and cultures of Cuban baker Daniel and international fashion mogul Noa collide.

Meanwhile, both seasons of the original Israeli series, created by Assis Azar for Keshet 12, have been sold into Planet TV in Slovenia.

Other deals have seen SundanceTV in the US acquiring the third season of the UK version of The A Word, which has its British premiere on BBC One on 5 May. The family drama, based on Keren Margalit’s Yellow Peppers, is co-produced by Fifty Fathoms and Keshet Productions and has also been licensed to YLE in Finland and BBC First in Australia for a first window. All three have previously acquired the first and second seasons of the show, which explores the life of a young boy diagnosed with autism.

The BBC’s iPlayer has also relicensed the first two seasons to allow box-setting with the season three premiere in the UK. In addition, RTL Croatia has acquired both series for its RTL Play premium SVOD service in Croatia, with SBS acquiring them for a second FTA window in Australia.

Keren Shahar, KI’s chief operating officer and president of distribution, said: “While we all do our bit to help slow the spread of this virus by isolating at home, series like these offer total escapism and the opportunity to explore the globe from the comfort of our sofas. Regardless of where these dramas originate, we are seeing increased interest across our scripted finished tape slate, and we are doing everything we can to connect buyers quickly and easily with all the content they need at this difficult time.”

Red Arrow lands on Protection

Red Arrow Studios International (RASI) has partnered with UK production company 87 Films and Israel’s TTV Productions to develop Protection, an eight-part crime drama set in Israel, the UK and the US.

The show has been conceived as a returning series and centres on a psychologist who has been appointed to run the Israel Witness Protection Authority.

It has been created by Alan Whiting (The Trials of Jimmy Rose) and TTV Productions founder Zafrir Kochanovsky (Where Do You Live?), alongside Israeli writer Izhar Harlev. Whiting also serves as lead writer, while 87 Films’ Patrick Irwin (The Fall) is onboard to produce.

The series will be executive produced by Irwin, Kochanovsky and Whiting, alongside Carlo Dusi and Bo Stehmeier for RASI.

Dusi, EVP of commercial strategy, scripted, at RASI, said: “Backed by extensive research, the series portrays life within the witness protection system from the inside out and in an unprecedented way. Zafrir’s original concept for the show felt fresh and compelling from the outset, and it’s a pleasure to be working with talent of Alan and Patrick’s calibre as we take out this exciting and topical drama series.”

Fox’s Lego Masters

Sweden’s TV4 remakes Lego Masters

TV4 in Sweden has ordered a local version of entertainment format Lego Masters from Endemol Shine Group and Meter Television.

The broadcaster becomes the seventh to commission the show, following deals in the US, UK Australia, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Swedish YouTuber Mauri Hermundsson will host the eight-part series, which will launch this autumn on TV4, TV4 Play and C More. Hermundsson will be joined by Magnus Göransson, a design director at Lego, who will judge the contestant’s creations.

The show was originally created by Tuesday’s Child Productions and The Lego Group, with Endemol Shine the exclusive distributor of the format and all finished tape globally.

The show recently launched its primetime run on Fox in the US, attracting more than 36 million unique viewers across its first season. It has also sold to the Netherlands and Belgium, while the format returned to Australia for a second season onf Nine Network earlier this year.

ITV, BBC fund UK writing scheme

UK brodcast duo ITV and the BBC have agreed to jointly fund a new two-year writers and new directors scheme run by Dancing Ledge Productions.

The initiative aims to discover and nurture a new generation of TV talent, with ITV supporting the new writers initiative and the BBC the directors scheme.

With ITV’s investment, eight top writers will be invited to choose and mentor a new scribe whose work they have been impressed by. The new writer will be given a non-refundable bursary and write a pilot episode for their own original TV series.

Polly Hill, head of drama at ITV, said: “I’m delighted we’re able to partner with Dancing Ledge in creating opportunities for new writing talent following the success of last year’s mentoring scheme. I commissioned Trigger Point as a direct result of the scheme, which undoubtedly created an opportunity for Daniel Brierley which might not have existed otherwise. It’s an excellent initiative and one I look forward to supporting.”

With the BBC’s investment, eight key directors will be invited to select an outstanding new talent whose work they admire. They will be given a bursary that will pay for them to work as a second unit director on a production being directed by their mentor and to shadow them.

Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, said: “We want to help with assisting new directors to break through in the British drama sector, to help establish a talent pool which is both creatively rich and truly inclusive. We are delighted to be working with Dancing Ledge on a scheme to help address this.”

Dancing Ledge Productions will also run regular workshops with the mentees and organise mentor and broadcaster masterclasses.

The first generation of the scheme, set up for the Screenskills High End TV Writers Fund in 2018, saw Jimmy McGovern, Jack Thorne, Sally Wainwright, Levi David Addai, Kay Mellor, Paul Abbott, Jed Mercurio, Lucy Prebble and Amanda Coe all mentor new writers.

So far, two series have been commissioned by broadcasters that have come out of that programme: Jimmy McGovern mentee Tony Schumacher’s The Responder starring Martin Freeman for BBC2; and Jed Mercurio mentee Daniel Brierley’s Trigger Point for ITV.

Laurence Bowen, CEO at Dancing Ledge Productions, said: “Having both the BBC and ITV invest directly in 16 new voices and working with 16 fantastic mentors to help identify and support them is a wonderful celebration of everything we believe in as a company. We’ve always put new talent right at the heart of what we do. It keeps us and the industry relevant and provides vital funds for new writing and directing talent at a current crisis point for many.”

Alongside ongoing BBC dramas, The Responder and The Salisbury Poisonings, Dancing Ledge Productions recently developed Netflix Original Delhi Crime, was the UK producer for The New Pope, and produced Porters for Dave/UKTV.

It is currently developing projects with Paulo Coelho, Louise Doughty, Faith Soloway, Nathaniel Martello White, Joe Barton and Lauren Sequeira, and a new partnership with Lee Child – Lee Child True Crime – a drama series based on real-life stories of people risking their lives in the pursuit of justice.

The prodco works internationally with Fremantle, which has a minority stake in the company.

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