Exclusive: Paramount+ UK hunting “next level” returning thrillers


Paramount UK is on the hunt for “next level” returning crime thrillers, in the vein of BBC dramas Bodyguard and Line Of Duty, for streaming service Paramount+.

Speaking at the inaugural GrowthLab event at Barclays in London today, Sebastian Cardwell, SVP & deputy CCO for Paramount UK, shared his content wishlist, for both the streamer and local broadcaster Channel 5.

For the latter free-to-air channel, Cardwell said he was looking for “bums on seats” programming such as detective dramas and “soft period” shows.

Sebastian Cardwell

However, for Paramount+, he explained that the company has a “two-fold” content strategy, chiefly interested in thrillers – “because thrillers are the biggest shows on TV” – with an ‘elevated proposition’ for the SVOD, such as with its upcoming commission The Burning Girls.

“Then there’s the narrower, audience-specific type shows that we look for as well, so slightly more genre; IP helps a lot,” added Cardwell, highlighting upcoming Paramount+ titles such as the adaptations of A Gentleman In Moscow, The Doll Factory and Sexy Beast.

“We’re hunting for a crime thriller at the moment,” revealed Cardwell, who said he is looking for a “next level” returning series that puts its “head above the parapet” such as True Detective or The Killing.

Cardwell further highlighted HBO’s Mare Of Easttown as an example of a series that “could have been a Channel 5 show” but was elevated through its lead star’s performance. “When you put Kate Winslet in it you have that gritty realism and that amazing performance and that dissection of grief and family and that completely changes the buzz around that show.”

He revealed: “That’s the kind of thing we’d like to do on Paramount+ and that’s the thing we’re trying to look for in our next phase,” said Cardwell, explaining that the streamer is seeking to achieve subscriber retention via returning series.

“Basically, if you can give me The Affair, The Bodyguard or Line Of Duty, I’ll be pretty happy,” said the exec, referencing the Showtime and BBC dramas.

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