Universal Channel buys pair of 'Kings,' BBC finds love in Germany

BERLIN — The deal-making continued through day two of the MipTV programming mart in Cannes for hot scripted skeins and entertainment formats alike.

Universal Channel in the U.K. picked up two new royal-sounding dramas — the U.S. ensemble “Breakout Kings” and Canadian drama “King.”

“Breakout Kings,” A&E’s crime drama from the creators of “Prison Break,” follows two U.S. marshals who use former fugitives to catch criminals on the run.

“King,” which launched on Canada’s Showcase last year, stars Amy Price-Francis (“Californication”) as the eponymous lead character, the new head of a special crime task force, who juggles the pressure of her new post with her family life.

On the VOD front, Lovefilm Germany inked a package deal with BBC Worldwide for more than 300 hours of programming, including hit shows such as “Ashes to Ashes,” “Hustle” and “Spooks.”

Also available to subscribers of the Amazon-owned Lovefilm are natural history and lifestyle titles such as “Blue Planet: A Natural History of the Oceans,” “Planet Earth,” “Michael Palin’s New Europe” and “Sahara,” as well as period dramas “Pride & Prejudice,” “Emma” and the miniseries “Cranford,” starring Judi Dench.

Echo Bridge Entertainment, meanwhile, boarded “The Heretics,” an international co-production between Paris-based Breakout Films and Toronto’s Sienna Films that chronicles the Catholic Church’s 13th-century war against followers of the Cathar faith in Southern France.

Gallic-Teutonic pubcaster Arte will carry the series in France and Germany. In Canada, “The Heretics” will bow next year on feevee services Astral’s The Movie Network and Super Ecran as well as Corus Entertainment’s Movie Central.

Echo Bridge has also inked a multi-territory licensing pact with MTV Intl. for seasons 10 and 11 of the long-running Canadian teen drama “Degrassi” for the network’s international channels. The deal takes the show, which now airs in more than 150 countries, to Southeast Asia and Latin America.

International sales group Zodiak Rights acquired the new entertainment format “Nation’s Brightest” from German production shingle I&U TV Production.

A major hit on Germany’s ARD, the talent format tests the smarts of contestants vying for the big cash prize.

Adding another key deal to its international free-to-air roll-out, Spain’s Vodka Capital sold its pre-school magic planet series “Jelly Jam” to France’s Gulli, a joint venture of pubcaster France Televisions and Lagardere Active and one of Europe’s leading children’s channels.

France’s TF1 and Madrid-based production house Europroducciones TV acquired French and Spanish format rights, respectively, to quiz show “We Believe in You.” Format is sold by Israel’s Armoza Formats, which is also the distributor of the hit Israeli format adapted by NBC as “Who’s Still Standing?”

London-based Passion Distribution saw strong business for food and property entertainment formats from Asian buyers, including Philippine group Mediascape, Pan-Asian channel LiTV, South Korea’s TCast, Nippon TV and AETN Asia. Hot sellers included Scripps Networks Intl.’s “24 Hour Restaurant Battle,” “Fresh Food Fast with Emeril Lagasse,” “Eat Street,” “House Crashers” and “Outdoor Room.”

Other pick-ups included Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Home Takeover with Simon and Tomas” and “Sun, Sea & Bargain Spotting” as well as Sundance Channel’s “All on the Line With Joe Zee” and Scripps’ “The Antonio Treatment.”

(John Hopewell in Madrid contributed to this report.)

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