Crossing the pond

Pearson TV creates laffers for U.S., U.K.

Bridging that big pond, the Atlantic, may get a little easier now that Pearson Television has created Little Pond Television to develop comedy formats for the U.K. and the U.S.

Pearson execs announced that Juliet Blake, currently Pearson’s senior VP, will spearhead the new division and that four projects are already in development on cable and network channels on both sides of the pond.

“Little Pond will offer opportunities in the U.K. for American writers and creators whose pilots don’t find themselves on the network or cable programming schedules in the U.S.,” said Jamie Bennett, chief exec of worldwide productions for Pearson. “Likewise, creators and producers of short-run series in the U.K. may find Little Pond to be the back-door entry they need to access the U.S. cable and broadcast networks.”

Blake shaped the idea for the company after developing sitcoms for NBC, Paramount and Brillstein-Grey (now Basic Entertainment) in the U.S. and with the BBC in the U.K.

New life for pilots

“Little Pond has been created to take the best of both the British and American worlds and create opportunity for formats in both markets,” Blake said. “Many high quality pilots in both countries go untried, which is a source of frustration for the creative community. Little Pond will now offer an alternative avenue for their property.”

Already in production is “Hairy,” a pilot developed for NBC under the name “Animals,” for BBC1. Blake serves as exec producer and Simon Nye, the creator of the original British sitcom “Men Behaving Badly,” is both writer and creator of the series.

Other projects on the table include a pilot commitment for “Single Cell” for Comedy Central, a forensics series for Court TV, and “Cry Wolf,” which is in development with Paramount and Bristol Cities for NBC and which will be based on the Canadian series of the same name.

Additionally, Little Pond has acquired the long-running Australian sitcom “All Together Now” as part of the company’s assets.

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