News round-up: Amazon extends ‘Hunters’; GRB & Autentic sales; Small World & Joe Lewis link


Amazon extends ‘Hunters’ for second season

Amazon Studios has ordered a second season of conspiracy thriller Hunters.

The drama, fronted by actor Al Pacino, follows a group of Nazi hunters living in 1970s New York, who have discovered that hundreds of high-ranking Nazis are living in hiding in the US and conspiring to create a Fourth Reich.

The first season launched on Amazon Prime Video in February, though there is no release date yet announced for the second.

Hunters was created by David Weil, who serves as exec producer alongside Jordan Peele and Nikki Toscano. The series is produced by Amazon Studios alongside Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions and Sonar Entertainment.

Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said: “With Hunters, David Weil’s bold vision and fearless imagination powered a thrilling, twisty, action-packed first season that engaged Prime Video customers around the world. We are thrilled that David, Jordan and the Hunters will be back with us for more.”

“I am beyond grateful to Jen and the Amazon family for their continued extraordinary support of Hunters,” added Weil. “Alongside our magnificent cast, incredible crew, and brilliant writers and producers, I am more eager than ever to share the next chapter of the Hunters saga with the world.”

Untold Stories Of The ER

GRB announces multiple deals

Content studio and global distribution company GRB Studios has announced a raft of factual content sales, led by a large volume deal with Pluto TV for Latin America.

The ViacomCBS-owned AVOD service has acquired a number of Spanish-language programmes for the LatAm region, including nature shows Full Force NatureAnatomy Of Disaster and Storm Warning. It has also acquired action shows High Seas Rescue and medical drama Untold Stories Of The ER, among others.

Deals were also struck with Germany’s ProSieben, which renewed three seasons of romantic crime series Wicked Attraction and licensed the sixth season for the first time, while Discovery Germany also acquired Untold Stories Of The ER.

AETN also acquired season nine of true crime investigative series On The Case for the UK, while Middle East channel OSN took six hours of Top Travel and MNET took three docu-series for Africa – For Peete’s SakeMind Your Business, and The Book Of John Grey.

Hud Woodle, EVP of international sales and operations of GRB Studios, said that the company was “thrilled” to partner with Pluto LatAm.

Small World and Joe Lewis link

LA-based live events and entertainment company Joe Lewis Company (JLC) has entered into a strategic partnership with format distributor Small World IFT.

Under the terms of the deal, Small World, which will rebrand as Small World International, will “spearhead” JLC’s move into TV entertainment and its expansion into the MENA media market.

Small World will continue to operate as an independent format sourcing and distribution company, while serving as JLC’s “entertainment hub” and managing the new production stream.

The partnership follows hot on the heels of Small World’s first-look agreement with MGM Television, which was struck in June. The deal has seen Small World ramping up its Global Formats division in recent months.

Small World president and co-founder Tim Crescenti commented: “Formats will always be at the heart of Small World, but it feels the right time to expand into other areas of entertainment,” while Joe Lewis added that “diversifying into international TV entertainment feels like a logical step” for his company.

Berlin 1945

Autentic distributes 200 factual hours

Broadcasters across Central and Eastern Europe have picked more than 200 hours of factual content, following deals with Autentic Distribution, the sales division of Germany-based factual label Autentic.

Hungary’s free-TV channel MTVA has added more than 40 hours of documentaries, including history title Bad Nazi, Good Nazi, and nature and wildlife shows Lynx – Close Up and Germany’s Mystic Forest.

The latter two shows were also picked up by Polish free-TV broadcaster TVP, along with science titles Out Of The Cradleand Superintelligence.

Meanwhile, Polish pay-TV platform Canal+ acquired 28 hours of programming, including the long-running At Our Neighbour’s Table and science title Anatomy Of Evil.

The Czech Republic’s FTV Prima picked up more than 100 hours of new and relicensed shows, including Berlin 1945 and Back To Chernobyl.

Russia’s Kultura TV is also picking up Lynx – Close Up and At Our Neighbour’s Table, while Arte: RE is headed to Greek broadcaster ERT 3. Greece’s OTE Cosmote, meanwhile, has picked up a three-hour package of food shows.

The Secret Garden

Sky enters ‘The Secret Garden’

Sky has acquired the rights to Marc Munden’s feature The Secret Garden from Studiocanal, with plans for the film to be released in cinemas and on the Sky Cinema channel on 23 October across the UK and Ireland.

The Secret Garden is based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic children’s novel about a 10-year-old girl who is sent to live with her uncle and soon uncovers some family secrets.

Directed by Munden and written by Jack Thorne, the film is produced by David Heyman and Rosie Alison and the cast includes Dixie Egerickx (Summerland), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) and Julie Walters (Mamma Mia).

Sarah Wright, director of Sky Cinema and acquisitions at Sky UK & Ireland, commented: “At Sky, we want to showcase the very best films and we’re thrilled to provide The Secret Garden with the perfect home on Sky Cinema.”

Nat Geo orders shark special with ‘Avengers’ star Hemsworth

National Geographic has greenlit a special with the working title of Shark Beach, featuring movie star Chris Hemsworth, to premier during Sharkfest 2021 next summer.

UK-and-US-based indie Nutopia will produce the special for National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild, which will see Avengers star Hemsworth, an enthusiastic surfer and environmentalist, embark on a “once-in-a-lifetime” mission to investigate the measures put in place to safeguard our co-existence and uncover the complicated truth behind the increase in shark attacks in Australia.

Hemsworth is also attached as an executive producer, alongside Ben Grayson, with Jane Root, Arif Nurmohamed and Mark Hedgecoe for Nutopia, and Tracy Rudolph Jackson for National Geographic.

“I’ve spent a great deal of my life near or in the ocean, sharing the same backyard with sharks, and recently there’s been some growing concern regarding an increase in shark activity,” said Hemsworth. “It’s crucial that we both revere and respect sharks. Our oceans depend on these apex predators for a biodiverse ecosystem; however, we must also learn how to protect ourselves, and that’s my main objective in Shark Beach.”

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