ITV orders drama from ‘Gentleman Jack’ star Suranne Jones, reveals new reality division

Suranne Jones in Gentleman Jack

UK commercial broadcaster ITV has commissioned a three-part relationship drama that has been co-created by Gentleman Jack star Suranne Jones, while also unveiling a new reality-focused commissioning division.

Maryland, from Jones and screenwriter Anne-Marie O’Connor, is about two sisters who have grown apart over the years, but
through tragic events learn to love and respect one another all over again. The show focuses upon the relationship between the sisters, who have been driven apart by complex family dynamics, becoming estranged and wrapped up in their own lives.

It is being produced by ITV Studios-owned Monumental Television, with Jones’ prodco Teamakers Productions attached as copro partner. ITVS will distribute globally.

Maryland marks the first UK drama commission for O’Connor, who will also executive produce the project with Jones. She is also known for creating comedy Trollied and is also behind upcoming comedy Hullraisers.

Paul Mortimer

Reality rejig

The UK broadcaster has also launched a new reality commissioning and acquisitions division, which has emerged following the broadcaster’s digital-first window strategy that has been launched in conjunction with the unveiling of new streamer ITVX.

The division’s operations will fall under the remit of ITV’s digital channels controller Paul Mortimer, who will look for younger-skewing shows.

He will work with commissioning editor Amanda Stavri and Peter Tierney in his new role as director of reality & acquisitions, while also remaining controller of ITV2, CITV and ITVBe. The move follows ITV’s shift to create a single content budget across all platforms.

Mortimer said: “As we look to commission for ITVX primarily, building on the success of Love Island and our other reality brands, Amanda and Pete and I will be actively searching for the next big formats that target younger audiences especially and we can’t wait to get started.”

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