Sony Pix taking ‘Tudors’ mini o’seas

Co. picks up int'l distrib rights to TV series

Sony Pictures has acquired exclusive TV, DVD, mobile and new-media distrib rights outside North America on upcoming 10-parter “The Tudors.”

Series, the most ambitious project yet produced by Peace Arch Entertainment, will air Stateside on Showtime and on the CBC in Canada next spring.

Although no specifics were made available, pricetag is said to be in the same ballpark as that for HBO historical saga “Rome.” Skein is similarly infused with a modern sensibility, according to the producers, and, as with “Rome,” further seasons will be ordered if the first 10 episodes work for Showtime.

Sony Pictures Entertainment prexy of worldwide acquisitions Peter Schlessel and Sony Pictures TV Intl. exec VP Keith Le Goy negotiated the distribution agreement with Peace Arch prexy John Flock and exec VP Mary Herne. It’s the first such arrangement between the two companies.

“The show is very strong, and also very hip,” Schlessel told Daily Variety. “We saw it (last) Monday and closed the deal on Thursday.”

“The Tudors” focuses on the tumultuous early years of King Henry VIII’s 40-year reign. Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars as the sexy and ruthless monarch, with Sam Neill as Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and Natalie Dormer (“Casanova”) as Anne Boleyn, the first of Henry’s wives to be beheaded.

“The Tudors” was created and written by Michael Hirst, whose work includes the feature “Elizabeth.” The 10-hour series just completed principal photography in Ireland.

Hirst, Reveille founder Ben Silverman and Working Title principals Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are exec producers, with Gary Howsam of Peace Arch and Morgan O’Sullivan of World 2000 producing.

Peace Arch’s Flock told Daily Variety that there were “quite a few bidders” for the property, but he declined to name them.

In addition to the company’s expanding lineup of longform programming, Peace Arch produced the recent San Sebastian fest winner “Delirious” and just completed pic “Chapter 27.” Peace Arch is selling international rights to both projects on a territory-by-territory basis.

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