'Jekyll,' 'Robin Hood' are taking shape

BBC America has lined up co-production deals for four major scripted projects, led by 13 hours of a new “Robin Hood” series and six 90-minute editions of a modern-day version of “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.”

For each “Robin Hood” hour, BBC America will put up about $90,000 in production money — about one-tenth of the total per-episode budget.

BBC America’s annual programming budget ranges between $25 million and $30 million for both co-productions and purchases.

The lead on the “Robin Hood” and “Jekyll” series will be taken by the parent BBC in England, but BBC America will be able to submit the skeins for Golden Globe and Emmy Award consideration in the U.S. because of its contribution to the production budget. If BBC America just bought a series after the fact, that program wouldn’t be eligible for domestic awards.

A third joint venture of the BBC and BBC America is “Waterloo Road,” an eight-hour drama featuring teachers, parents and pupils interacting at a failing inner-city high school.

BBC America has also signed a deal with England’s Channel 4 for “Low Winter Sun,” a police drama steeped in violence and murder, to be cablecast in two 90-minute installments.

BBC America general manager Kathryn Mitchell said BBC America plans to co-produce 15 programs over the next two years, all with British-based broadcasters, producers and distributors.

“Robin Hood,” to be written and co-exec produced by Dominic Minghella for Tiger Aspect Prods., and shot in Budapest, will be the biggest-budgeted of the four. The other exec producers are Foz Allan, the BBC’s John Yorke and BBC America’s Mitchell.

BBC America is promoting “Jekyll,” starring James Nesbitt in the title role, as “somewhere between a modern horror story and ‘The Odd Couple.’ ” Exec producers are Beryl Vertue, Steven Moffat (who also scripted), Jane Tranter, Yorke and Mitchell.

“Waterloo Road” is a Shed production, with Brian Park as exec producer, along with the BBC’s Anne Mensah,Yorke and Mitchell.

Tiger Aspect is also doing “Low Winter Sun,” which stars Mark Strong. The writer is Simon Donald, and the exec producers are Greg Brenman and Mitchell.

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