International Television (47)
Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) has inked a two-cycle deal with Bundesliga International that runs until 2029.
The deal will bring coverage of the popular German soccer league to Viaplay audiences in Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The agreement covers more than 300 live Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 matches every season, along with the German Supercup and the Bundesliga relegation play-offs.
"The Bundesliga scores so highly in excitement, quality and fan involvement. Viaplay can now bring supporters in our new and established markets even closer to their heroes every week until the end of the decade," said Anders Jensen, NENT Group’s president and CEO, in a statement announcing the deal. "This historic partnership across nine countries is exactly what we are aiming for—long contracts that allow us to take a long-term perspective on developing the service for existing and, very importantly, future fans. This shows our long-term commitment to Bundesliga football with whom we are very proud to be partners. This takes NENT Group one step closer to realizing our ambition of being the European streaming champion."
"By committing to this long-term agreement, we are once again reaffirming our strategic approach to work hand-in-hand with our partners and deliver a world-class product to fans throughout Europe," added Robert Klein, Bundesliga International CEO. "Given NENT Group’s streaming ambitions and attitude towards innovation, which reflects our own ethos, NENT Group and the Bundesliga are building on the foundations of a great partnership, and we look forward to many more exciting moments together in the coming years."
Sky has announced that production of the second series of the Sky Original international financial thriller Devils, is under way in Rome. Alessandro Borghi and Patrick Dempsey reprise their roles as Massimo Ruggero and Dominic Morgan. Filming for the second series will continue in Rome and London.
Devils is a story of power set in the world of global finance produced by Sky Italia and Lux Vide in collaboration with Sky Studios, Orange Studio and OCS. Distributed by NBCUniversal Global Distribution on behalf of Sky Studios, the first series has sold in more than 160 territories.
Based on the bestseller "The Devils" by Guido Maria Brera (published by Rizzoli) and told through fictional characters and fragments of reality, the series tells the story of the silent but devastating war affecting the Western world over the last decade. An underground war fought with the most powerful of weapons: finance.
Four years have passed since Massimo Ruggero managed to thwart Dominic Morgan's plan against the Euro, but he paid a high price: Sofia’s death. Massimo, now NYL bank’s new CEO, has appointed a group of Chinese investors to the board who are waging a silent war against the United States to rule over the tech sector. Acquisition after acquisition, Massimo will discover a pattern where the data of millions of people is collected, used and fought over by the two sides. Becoming NYL’s strongest opponent is Massimo's old mentor: Dominic Morgan. Progressively Massimo becomes aware of this silent battle, but it will be in 2020 when the global pandemic hits that this war will come into the light and Massimo will finally have to choose which side to take.
Alongside the two leading actors, Alessandro Borghi playing Massimo Ruggero, who has been appointed CEO of the New York-London Investment Bank at the end of the first season, and Patrick Dempsey as Dominic Morgan, one of the most influential men in the world of finance, there is Malachi Kirby (The Race, Roots), Pia Mechler (Everything Is Wonderful), Paul Chowdhry (Live at the Apollo, Swinging with the Finkels) and Harry Michell (Yesterday, The English Game), playing the Pirates, Massimo Ruggero’s most loyal team of traders, and Lars Mikkelsen (The Killing, Sherlock, House of Cards) as Robert Duval, the founder of Subterranea currently in jail.
Joining the wider international cast for the second series are Li Jun Li (Damages, Minority Report, Wu Assassins) playing Wu Zhi, NYL new head of trading; Joel de la Fuente (Law & Order, The Man in the High Castle) as Li Wei Cheng, Chinese investor member of the board of directors of the NYL; and Clara Rosanger (The rain, Il concorso) as Nadya Wojcik., Dominic’s brilliant new protegee.
The eight episode second series will be directed by Nick Hurran (Sherlock, Doctor Who, Fortitude, Altered Carbon) and Jan Maria Michelini (I Medici, DOC- Nelle tue mani). The writers include Frank Spotnitz, James Dormer, Naomi Gibney and Caroline Henry.
In the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria, the series will launch on Sky Atlantic. In the UK, Ireland and Italy, it will also be available on streaming service NOW, as well as Sky Ticket devices in Germany, Sky X in Austria and Sky Show in Switzerland. International sales for Devils will be handled by NBCUniversal Global Distribution on behalf of Sky Studios.
Sian Whomes has taken a position in Netflix's EMEA talent acquisition team, according to a post on LinkedIn:
I’m excited to share that I am joining the EMEA Talent Acquisition team at Netflix. It has been an incredible journey working as Head of Talent at Sony Pictures Entertainment, and I would like to thank SPE for the opportunity to work with such creative and talented people and production teams. I’m especially proud of what we have achieved with Sony Pictures Action. Sometimes an opportunity comes along that you have to say yes to, and I can’t wait to start this new chapter at Netflix.
In her new role, she will work with talent acquisition manager Lida Manukyan to identify the best talent in the region for future Netflix productions.
She is leaving Sony Pictures Entertainment after two and a half years, where she served in a talent manager role before being promoted in December 2018 to head of talent. Her specialty was recruiting off-screen talent for various Sony-backed productions.
While at Sony, she also worked on Sony Pictures Action, a racial equity and inclusion initiative program that provides financial support to organizations dedicated to racial justice and reform.
She began her career as a runner on The Jerry Springer Show, and later held talent roles with the BBC, ITV and former Endemol (now Banijay)-backed label Princess Productions.
It has been 10 years since HBO’s Game of Thrones first captivated audiences in living rooms around the world, making TV history and putting the 'real Westeros' on the map.
To celebrate, the show’s creators have launched The Iron Anniversary, a month-long series of events marking the success of the TV phenomenon.
The network’s 10th anniversary commemorations include a custom spotlight page with personalized curations on HBO Max, a binge-watching marathon, special-edition products and even surprise Thrones-branded gifts for three couples who were married in Westeros-themed ceremonies.
The anniversary is a reminder that the Game of Thrones spectacle first burst onto TV screens on 17 April 2011. As the story unfolded over eight dramatic seasons and more than 70 hours of sensational storytelling, HBO and the Game of Thrones® cast and crew made Northern Ireland their home.
With filming beginning in 2010, the country, the giant spirit of the people and the atmospheric heritage of an array of stunning locations soon became integral to the soul of the show and today its legacy lives on in the place where it was created.
Plan ahead to see the ‘real Westeros’ when we are able to travel again. This is where you can get closest to the spirit and the action of the legendary series in a wide range of attractions, tours and authentic experiences related to the show.
Multiple Game of Thrones tours are available to explore the filming locations that formed the backdrop to the series, with many led by locals who worked as actors, extras, drivers and crew who can share great insider stories.
Key touring destinations include the famous Causeway Coastal Route, where sites such as the brooding Dark Hedges became the Kingsroad, the cliffs at Fair Head stood in for Dragonstone Cliffs and the quaint Ballintoy Harbour was portrayed as Lordsport Harbour in the Iron Islands.
Or head south of Belfast to Old Castle Ward in County Down, which doubled as Winterfell, home of the Stark family. This National Trust property has many 'Thrones' shooting locations on site and is rich in authentic experiences related to the show. George R. R. Martin himself, the acclaimed author of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels on which Game of Thrones is based, made a rare public appearance at Castle Ward in 2019 after the series had finished airing.
During his visit, the ‘Father of Dragons’ praised the "marvelous" filming locations for the show, adding: "Seeing Game of Thrones come alive in Northern Ireland was a unique thrill. My mind is still boggled a little by it."|
Elsewhere in Northern Ireland, you can grab a selfie on Belfast’s Glass of Thrones Trail, which is a set of giant stained-glass window installations representing the Houses of the Seven Kingdoms. You can also start or finish a Journey of Thrones in the Dark Horse restaurant in city, a trip that takes in ten intricately carved Doors of Thrones hung in pubs and restaurants near film locations. Carved from trees felled by a storm on the 'Kingsroad', the doors depict inspiring scenes from Season 6.
And keep your eyes peeled for the opening of the exciting new first-of-its-kind Game of Thrones® Studio Tour, which will see HBO turn Linen Mill Studios, one of the show’s key facilities in Northern Ireland, into a major ‘Thronie’ experience.
The deeply immersive, high-sensory attraction will feature fully dressed sets, authentic costumes, weaponry and props, all evoking the magnificence of the show.
Though a specific date has not yet been announced, it is hoped the Game of Thrones Studio Tour will open sometime in 2021.
Sky News will livestream the courtroom footage from the trial of Derek Chauvin in its entirety on a dedicated TV channel George Floyd Killing: The Trial and across its digital channels starting Monday, March 29th.
Former Minnesota police officer Chauvin goes on trial on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter for the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in the city of Minneapolis last May.
Described as one of the most important trials in US history, fourteen jury members will hear trial proceedings to decide whether Chauvin should serve time in prison or be acquitted for Floyd’s death.
Chauvin was filmed with his knee on his neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes while he was handcuffed and pleading that he couldn’t breathe. The video was shared around the world and sparked months of protests against racial injustice and police brutality.
Using a virtual gallery, the Court TV footage will be streamed live from 3pm to 11pm BST Monday to Friday for the duration of the trial.
Sky News will run a weekly summary of the case every Sunday evening at 8.30pm.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death in 2020, Sky News broadcast a series of special live events called Race and Revolution. Hosted by Gillian Joseph and with a virtual audience, the programs discussed the impact and legacy of his death and explored whether there has been a fundamental shift towards tackling racial inequality.
The Sky documentary 8 Minutes And 46 Seconds - The Killing of George Floyd examines those terrible moments, the subsequent global protests, and asks if it is a turning point in the anti-racism movement.
George Floyd Killing: The Trial will be available in the UK and ROI on Sky channel 524 and online through the Sky News website and app.
Wellington Paranormal, the cult mockumentary comedy from Grammy and Emmy award-winning Jemaine Clement and Oscar-winning Taika Waititi, will be available this Spring on Sky. With all episodes of S1-S3 Wellington Paranormal available as a boxset from Monday, April 5th at 9pm on Sky Comedy and NOW TV.
The series was directed, produced and script edited by comedy legend Jemaine Clement with the help of director Jackie Van Beek and executive produced by Taika Waititi.
Here is the official logline of the series:
There are some crimes normal cops can’t investigate… Officers Minogue and O’Leary are invited to join the new Wellington Paranormal Unit of the Police when they unwittingly bring in a young woman possessed by the demon Bazu’aal; a demon who can jump from body to body and who is literally hell-bent on opening a portal to Hades in Cuba Street’s iconic Bucket Fountain. With the help of their Senior Sergeant Ruawai Maaka, they succeed in banishing the demon thanks to some quick googling and so the Wellington Paranormal Unit is born.
For the rest of the series, our hapless duo investigate an alien invasion on a farm; meet a werewolf out for revenge on her ex; resolve a noise complaint at a haunted house full of ghosts from the 1970s; encounter the vampire Nick from What We Do In The Shadows stealing blood from the hospital, along the way investigating a ghost behind a dairy, a scary ritual in a park, some creepy clowns by the road and a couple of dreary goths in a cemetery; then in the exciting conclusion to the series, Minogue and O’Leary race to stop a pair of zombified cops from their station before they get to Courtenay Place on a Friday night and cause a zombie apocalypse! All in a series’ work for our dynamic duo and their brave sergeant.
Wellington Paranormal looks like a typical police reality show in the style of Motorway Patrol or Police Ten7 but with X-Files-style paranormal events as the ‘crimes’ being investigated. The performances are realistic but funny using a cast of great comedic improvisers with scripts by exciting new writing talent.
The BBC Studios/ITV streaming service BritBox will be available for the first time o the Amazon UK Prime Video Channel beginning later this Spring.
The service joins Prime Video Channels' line-up of over 70 channels in the UK including StarzPlay, ITV Hub+, Discovery, Hayu, MUBI, BFI Player, MGM, Hopster and Shudder. It will also be available to Sky Q customers for the first time, since that pay TV service added Amazon Prime Video Channels in December 2020.
"We are excited to bring the very best British entertainment to an even wider audience through Amazon Prime Video Channels, especially as we launch even more original content in the spring, summer and beyond," said Will Harrison, BritBox UK’s Managing Director in a statement.
Julian Monaghan, Director of Amazon Prime Video Channels Europe, added: "It’s great that we’re going to be offering UK Prime members access to the biggest British box sets with the addition of BritBox on Prime Video Channels. BritBox is a great addition to our selection of entertainment on Prime Video Channels, giving customers even more choice to find the TV series they love."
BBC Three will return as a linear TV channel in January 2022, six years after it moved online.
The broadcaster said move was made in part because the channel has had a string of hits in recent years, including Fleabag, Normal People and Killing Eve.
The channel will be targeted at audiences aged 16-34 and will broadcast from 7pm to 4am each day, the same as the hours of the channel when it closed in 2016. As a result CBBC’s broadcast hours will revert to closing at 7pm - as was the case before 2016.
The move is not entirely unexpected. Last year, the broadcaster announced it would double the BBC Three budget.
In making the announcement, the BBC said research suggested there would be a "strong case" for it to come back as a regular TV channel, focusing on younger audiences.
"BBC Three is a BBC success story, backing creativity, new talent and brave ideas has resulted in hit after hit, from Fleabag and Man Like Mobeen, RuPaul's Drag Race UK and Jesy Nelson's Odd One Out, to Normal People and This Country," said Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore in a statement. "The BBC needs to back success and make sure its programs reach as many young people as possible wherever they live in the UK. So regardless of the debates about the past, we want to give BBC Three its own broadcast channel again. It has exciting, ground breaking content that deserves the widest possible audience and using iPlayer alongside a broadcast channel will deliver the most value."
The channel announced it was moving online late in 2014 as a cost-cutting measure, but also because that was where its execs saw the future. Damian Kavanagh, the channel’s controller when it transitioned to digital, said: "We are the first broadcaster in the world to propose something like this."
But the success of BBC Three programming in recent years has led to a confusing programming strategy. Programs would be posted on BBC's iPlayer and described as "BBC Three" productions and then would randomly show up later on the core BBC television service anyway. And some producers were unhappy with the BBC Three digital experience, complaining that if the program wasn't on the 'featured' bar of the BBC iPlayer, viewers wouldn't see it.
Which led to the ironic situation that while the money saved by moving BBC Three to a digital channel was shifted to BBC One's drama budget, several of BBC One's biggest drama hits in recent years turned out to be repurposed BBC Three programs.
Left unanswered in this decision is the future of BBC Four, which in the past year has primarily become the home of random old programs from the BBC archives.
In their Annual Plan, from May 2020, the BBC said that "BBC Four will increase focus on bringing together collections of the most distinctive content from the BBC’s rich archive."
But there has been no update since.
While I'm not going to claim to be an expert on the television industry in Lebanon, I have seen several shows in the past and my general reaction has been that the shows struggle to overcome very small budgets and limited resources. There are talented people working in Lebanon, but the quality of acting can be erratic from performer to performer and technical skills like editing and scoring can often seem clunky and not up to international industry standards.
All of those problems seem to have been overcome in 2019's Awake, which was created and written by Nadia Tabbara. The series revolves around Dana (played by Flavia Bechara) a woman who unexpectedly wakes up after spending 11 years in a coma. She doesn't remember much of what happened and as she struggles to recover physically and mentally, she also has to try and figure out where she fits in a new world filled with unexpected technology, an unfamiliar political climate and sisters who have been living their own lives for more than a decade. And then there's the matter of that imaginary Dana she keeps seeing at the most unsettling moments.
Awake deftly gets through Dana's awakening and year-long recovery in the first episode and then moves on to the challenges you would expect to see in a series that deals with the aftermath of a long coma. But as the series unfolds, Dana discovers her family and friends are holding on to some secrets that could threaten the new life she's built for herself. Among those secrets is the growing realization that the "accident" that put her in a coma might not have been as accidental as she has been told.
I've seen eight of the season's 16 episodes - MHz is releasing two more a week through the end of March. But from what I've seen so far, Awake is well worth watching. The acting is over-all first rate. Flavia Bechara's handling of the complexities of Dana's life took a bit of getting used to for me. At first, she seemed timid in a way that didn't seem to fit. But as the episodes rolled out, I understood her choices better and realized that the hesitancy was more a reflection of the character than an acting choice.
The biggest standout for me was Stephanie Atallah, who plays Dana's younger sister Alma. She's bright and complex and has that on-camera charisma that fills every scene she's in. She's certainly compelling enough to make the move to international productions and I hope she gets her chance.
Watching a subtitled TV series from Lebanon might sound like a daunting task, but Awake is worth it. It's not just good television, it's a look at a society and lifestyle that isn't often seen in America. It's another example of the growing trend of quality TV coming from unexpected places.
Awake is currently streaming on MHz Choice.
Netflix has hired Benjamin Cox as its new Director of Business Development in Australia. He joins Netflix from ViacomsCBS, where he was Vice President of Business Development until October of last year. He previously worked at Nickelodeon, Foxtel and Austar Entertainment.
Netflix is the only international streamer with a content team on the ground in Australia. He joins recent new hires Nakul Legha and Hannah Pembroke, who are now part of the ANZ content team led by Que Minh Luu.
"I am thrilled to be joining the Netflix team. Since launching in Australia in 2015, Netflix has already built a number of strong partnerships with local companies to deliver effective outcomes for Netflix, partners and subscribers. As a leader in both content and technology, I’m looking forward to finding new ways to drive growth for the business in the years ahead," Cox said in a statement.
As the Director of Business Development, Cox will be responsible for leading Netflix's new and existing partnerships with a range of Australian companies, including ISPs, subscription television operators, and consumer electronics device manufacturers.
The UK's ITV has ordered a pair of specials hosted by Bear Grylls featuring former rugby union player Jonny Wilkinson and former boxer Nicola Adams.
In Bear & Jonny Wilkinson’s Wild Adventure and Bear & Nicola Adams’ Wild Adventure, Jonny and Nicola will join Bear to "battle the wild and push their physical and mental limits." From rock climbing, rappelling, abseiling to crossing ice cold rivers, the stars will also learn the key basic survival skills necessary to survive in the grueling and harsh terrain of Dartmoor.
And as you might expect in a Bear Grylls/celebrity adventure special, a fair amount of each episode will include Bear getting to know his companions by speaking to them about their lives, achievements, key life moments, as well as their hopes for the future. And of course, Bear will be sourcing some wilderness survival food to sustain them through the journeys.
"Both Jonny and Nicola are icons of their sports, and for me to be able to find out about their journey to stardom and their struggles along the way was a real privilege," said Bear Grylls in a statement announcing the programs. "The wild is a great leveler and also revealer, and to share this adventure with both these legends was special. I admire their tenacity and willingness to talk so honestly. They both shone bright out there."
Nicola Adams added: "Being on Bear Grylls Wild Adventures was a surreal experience – it’s a challenge I’ve always wanted to do and be a part of. I love getting out of my comfort zone but this was unlike anything I’ve done before. I’m grateful to Bear and the rest of the team for helping me through this and I can’t wait for everyone to see what we got up to."
Amanda Stavri Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment for ITV said: "Viewers can expect an adrenaline fueled quest as we see the ultimate adventurer Bear Grylls challenge rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson and sporting inspiration Nicola Adams. I'm excited to watch them being pushed to their limits in the wild and seeing them like we've never seen them before."
Bear & Jonny Wilkinson’s Wild Adventure and Bear & Nicola’s Wild Adventure come from Dragonfly Film & TV and The Natural Studios (Banijay UK companies) for ITV. They are executive produced by Tom Currie for Dragonfly TV & Film, by Bear Grylls & Delbert Shoopman for The Natural Studios and directed by Ewen Thomson. They were commissioned by Amanda Stavri, Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment for ITV. Both episodes are being distributed internationally by Banijay Rights.