News round-up: HBO closes down ‘Westworld’; BritBox calls in ‘Inspector Singh’; ZDF returns to ‘Ernest And Célestine’


HBO closes down ‘Westworld’

HBO has cancelled sci-fi drama series Westworld following its fourth season.

The show, once a ratings and awards draw for the network, has seen declining viewership and – as a high-cost production – comes as HBO owner Warner Bros. Discovery looks to make $3.5bn in savings.

The series starts out in the titular Westworld, a Wild West-themed amusement park populated by lifelike androids, where guests can live out their fantasies, before the plot expanded out into the real world.

Show creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy had hoped to wrap the story up with a fifth season and the major cast will still be paid for another season due to pay or play deals.

Sanjeev Bhaskar

BritBox calls in ‘Inspector Singh’

BritBox International has commissioned Inspector Singh, a new crime series from London/Singapore-based firm 108 Media.

The three-part series will go into production in January of 2023 and star Sanjeev Bhaskar in the lead role, with Suri Krishnamma as series director.

Acquired and developed by 108 Media, Inspector Singh is a prime-time detective drama series for a broad contemporary audience based on the long-running book series – Inspector Singh Investigates… by Shamini Flint. All episodes are scripted by Paul Logue and follow the iconoclastic, rule-breaking, unorthodox, and incomparable Singh – Singapore’s top sleuth.

Executive Producers are Abhi Rastogi, Justin Deimen, David Boulter, Nicky Davies Williams and Sanjeev Bhaskar for 108 Media with BritBox International’s Diederick Santer and Jonathan Karas. DCD Rights will be leading international sales across all remaining territories.

Ernest & Célestine – The Collection

ZDF returns to ‘Ernest And Célestine’

German pubcaster ZDF has picked up season two of the pre-school series Ernest And Célestine – The Collection, following a deal with French animation production and distribution company Dandelooo.

Produced by Folivari, So-Nord, and RTBF, the 26-episode season will debut on 1 December. The show follows the adventures of a big eccentric bear and a mischievous little mouse.

Based on the cult books by Belgian author and illustrator Gabrielle Vincent, the series has also previously sold to international broadcasters such as France TV, TV5 Monde and BBC Alba.

AIDC 2023 confirms guests and theme

The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) has confirmed the first guests and theme for its 2023 conference.

AIDC 2023 will take place in-person from 5-8 March 2023 at ACMI, Melbourne, followed by an online international marketplace, 9-11 March 2023.

American documentary filmmaker Sara Dosa, director of the award-winning feature doc Fire of Love (Nat Geo/Madman), about volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft, is the first speaker to be announced for the 2023 line-up, and will lead AIDC’s Spotlight program with an In Conversation session.

Also confirmed is Delhi-based filmmaker and writer Shaunak Sen, whose feature documentary All That Breathes; Fatima Salaria, Managing Director of UK Production Company Naked Television; and Moroccan-American filmmaker Rita Baghdadi, director of the acclaimed feature doc Sirens.

AIDC has also announced Agents Of Change as the central theme for 2023, celebrating the people and the practices working to elevate documentary and factual storytelling.

Through this theme, AIDC 2023 will highlight the changemakers of nonfiction storytelling, and bring focus to the champions of the craft leading the way for the creation of bold stories with real world impact.

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