Gallic major Gaumont is stepping into international TV production and distribution with the launch of L.A.-based Gaumont Intl. Television, headed by network TV veterans Katie O’Connell and Richard Frankie.
The pair will have access to Gaumont’s global sales force and large catalog to develop English-lingo TV properties for the U.S. and other markets. Among the first properties is drama “Hannibal,” a drama series written by Bryan Fuller, who will exec produce with Martha De Laurentiis (“Hannibal Rising”).
The 13-episode skein centers on the early relationship between Dr. Hannibal Lector and his patient, a young FBI criminal profiler named Will Graham, who is haunted by his ability to empathize with serial killers.
O’Connell, who will serve as CEO, is former exec VP of drama programming for NBC Entertainment. She previously worked as exec VP of development and current programming at Imagine Entertainment.
Frankie was exec VP of business operations at Sony Pictures Television.
The pair will have access to Gaumont’s global sales force and large catalog to develop TV properties.
O’Connell said Gaumont Intl. Television aims to produce drama series, one or two high-end miniseries, along with a handful of comedy series a year.
“As a leading independent studio we are looking to build a company that is nimble, global and creative in this ever-changing television landscape,” said Gaumont CEO Sidonie Dumas and VP Christophe Riandee in a statement.
The company will head to next month’s Mipcom TV mart with “Hannibal” as well as another project, “Madame Tussaud,” both of which are in the script stage.
“Madame Tussaud” is a six-part miniseries penned by Michael Hirst (“The Tudors”), who will exec produce with former William Morris agent Alan Gasmer and Sherry Marsh. Based on Michelle Moran’s book, the mini chronicles the turbulent life of Marie Tussaud, a French artist and entrepreneur who lived through the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror in the late 1700s.
Erik Pack will head the international sales and co-production division out of Gaumont’s London office. Pack was exec VP of international sales and co-productions at Power, the London-based production and distribution company.
Financing for the company was structured by Evolution Media Capital, an investment banking firm for the entertainment and media industries.