BBC agrees to more wizard drama
A second season of fantasy drama “Merlin” — bought by NBC in the U.S. — has been greenlit as it emerged that 112 territories have acquired the show.“Merlin” is funded by U.K. shingle Shine, the BBC and distributor FremantleMedia Enterprises. FME recently closed deals for “Merlin” in Germany (RTL), France (Canal Plus), South Africa (Mnet) and Japan (MICO), with more anticipated soon. Italian rights are held by Mediaset, which is already airing the show. “Merlin” bowed on the BBC in the U.K. in September as a 13-part series and achieved an average audience of 6.2 million and an impressive 28% share. Unusually, NBC committed to the skein during the early stages of production. “Merlin” was created by Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine Television, known primarily for factual entertainment and reality. Show stars Colin Morgan and Bradley James as boy wizard Merlin and Arthur respectively, with John Hurt and Anthony Head in supporting roles.