Film producer King has big goals in TV world

Judgement daze | Foreign-language TV still foreign to U.S. auds | ‘Dead’ show walking | ITV aims to boost international presence | ‘Camelot’ to define GK-TV’s young brand | Lionsgate looks beyond ‘Men’ | Fuji TV turns gaze globally | Syco ponders what comes after ‘X’
Territory Reports

GK-TV, the TV production and distribution company that noteworthy film producer Graham King launched last November, aims to burnish its infant brand with its international co-production of “Camelot” premiering next spring.

GK-TV’s starting point is King himself, who’s been behind such theatricals as “Ali,” “Traffic,” “Blood Diamond” and three films by Martin Scorsese: “Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator” and “The Departed.”

“That level of expectation you get from Graham King’s films, you will see in our TV shows,” says Craig Cegielski, who was hired away from his job as head of international sales at Lionsgate TV to run King’s new TV company. “Our mission is to extend Graham King’s film brand into the television universe. We’re creating cinematic-style series with obvious international extensions and global appeal.”

“Camelot” — like another international co-production, “The Tudors” — is designed to meet those expectations. The subject matter is known around the globe, and the cast, led by Joseph Fiennes as Merlin and Eva Green as Morgan, is stocked with known performers.

High quality and international interest don’t necessarily go hand in hand: While at Lionsgate, Cegielski sold AMC’s critically acclaimed “Mad Men” abroad. No one disputes that drama’s stellar quality, but the show’s story and style are quintessentially American, and that limits its global demand.

With those parameters in mind, Cegielski is picking GK-TV’s projects carefully.

“We’re a privately funded company,” he says, “so I’m not driven by the economics of growth for investors’ sakes. I’m going to be super-strategic, always stay on brand and not be driven to go off brand just to make up for any kind of shortfall.”

Besides “Camelot,” GK-TV has four other series in varying stages of development, says Cegielski: “I have a five-year plan, and we are way ahead of schedule. We know where we are going, but we are also able to pivot and say yes to the right things. It’s the best of both worlds.”

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