U.K.’s Granada ups U.S. profile with Fox’s ‘2020’

LONDON Granada Television, one of the U.K.’s leading broadcaster-producers, has signed its first production deal with Fox Broadcasting.

The company will make a two-hour futuristic police precinct TV movie, “2020,” scripted by British writer-producer Paul Abbott, best known for his work on “Cracker,” the hit U.K. series about a maverick police psychologist.

The move, brokered before Christmas by the William Morris Agency and Fox executive Trevor Walton, means that Granada is another step closer to fulfilling its ambitions to become a production force in North America.

Granada is working on an American version of “Cracker” commissioned by ABC and is also making an original drama for ABC based on a script by British writer Kay Mellor.

The U.S. “Cracker” will be co-produced by Granada and Yank producer Kushner Locke. However, Granada intends to make “2020” in Hollywood without a partner.

Gub Neal, Granada’s head of drama, said: ” ‘2020’ is a realistic attempt to see what life will be like 23 years from now. It is set in an urban world. Life is much more dangerous than it is today because of social problems triggered by new diseases and increased immigration.”

Speaking of Granada’s higher U.S. profile, Neal said: “Having three pilots commissioned by American networks puts us in the running as an independent producer in the U.S. We are also exploring projects with NBC, and are keen to get something under way with CBS.”

A British version of “2020,” also penned by Abbott, is due to be made in Blighty this March for airing on the ITV web in May. If the pilot is successful, a series will follow.

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