Germany’s Tandem expanding

Co. co-producing Patricia Cornwell adaptations

BERLIN — Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Tandem Communications has continued its decade-long momentum by carving out a hugely successful niche for itself in the global TV movie market and solidifying its position as a key international partner for U.S. producers.

The company has most recently teamed with Stanley M. Brooks and Jim Head to produce TV movie adaptations of Patricia Cornwell’s bestselling crime novels “At Risk” and “The Front” for Lifetime, marking the first time the author’s work will be adapted.

Brooks is set to announce a director and cast in the coming weeks, with a production start scheduled for July in Montreal (sitting in for Boston).

Set up in 1999 by Rola Bauer and Tim Halkin, Munich-based Tandem is co-producing both pics and will distribute worldwide, excluding the Lifetime window.

The Cornwell projects are Tandem’s latest high-profile TV productions based on the works of such international bestselling authors as Ken Follett (“Pillars of the Earth”), Nora Roberts (a collection of eight movies based on her novels), Robert Ludlum (“Covert One: The Hades Factor”), Robert Littell (“The Company”) and Frank Herbert (“Dune”).

Brooks calls his partnership with Tandem essential. “There’s no other way to produce TV movies without a strong international partner. When the TV business went from the networks to basic cable, financing became completely contingent on tax incentives and international partners.”

Bauer says the Cornwell projects are in line with the company’s strategy of “working with top producers who have a certain level of quality and respect and who transcend boundaries.”

“At Risk” and “The Front” are the first Cornwell novels to be produced for television.

“At Risk” was originally published in 2006 as a 15-week serialization in the New York Times Magazine and went on to become a No. 1 New York Times bestseller. Cornwell followed up in 2008 with “The Front,” which first appeared as a serialized novel in the London Times.

“Cornwell is a brand with a built-in audience,” Bauer says. “Her books have very broad appeal with both men and women.”

Screenwriter John Pielmeier (“Capture of the Green River Killer”) is adapting the books, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. They follow Massachusetts state investigator Win Garano and his ambitious supervisor state attorney Monique Lamont on long-unsolved cases.

Cornwell’s massive popularity in Germany and around the world are sure to make the pics an easy sell for Tandem, which is in negotiations with a number of leading broadcasting groups here.

In Germany, Tandem has partnered with nearly all of the country’s big broadcasters, including ProSiebenSat.1, which acquired the upcoming “Pillars of the Earth,” the $40 million four-part mini being produced by Ridley and Tony Scott; and “Impact,” the $14 million sci-fi mini produced by Jaffe/Braunstein Entertainment and Canada’s Muse Entertainment Enterprises for ABC.

Company also sold RTL on CBS’ $20 million two-part cloak and dagger thriller “Covert One: The Hades Factor” and pacted with pubcaster ARD on Lifetime’s successful Nora Roberts movie series, which achieved stellar ratings in Germany last year.

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