Granada expanding to U.S.

The U.K.-based Granada Media Group — one of Europe’s largest commercial TV producers — announced plans Monday to enter the North American production market by creating Granada Entertainment USA, to be based in Santa Monica and to be headed by former Columbia Pictures TV prexy Scott Siegler.

The move signals the company’s desire to become a U.S. network TV primetime player.

Siegler, who was most recently prexy of entertainment at American Cybercast after his seven-year presidential stint at Columbia TV, will be responsible for overseeing all of Granada’s North American-based production in comedy and drama series as well as movies and miniseries.

Among Siegler’s other duties will be identifying new markets and strategic opportunities for Granada in the U.S. He will liaise with U.K. Granada Film, which is increasing its production slate this year.

“We’re not going to be a high-volume operation per se,” Siegler said on Monday. “And while Granada has traditionally had closer relationships with cable and PBS, it wants to get more into the broadcast network area in both series and longform. That’s why they hired me. It’s where most of my relationships are.”

Steve Morrison, chief executive of Granada Media Group, called the opening of a North American production office “a cornerstone of Granada’s expanding global strategy. We believe that U.S. growth…is a key to the future of the company. We feel we have something special to offer America.”

Granada has produced series and one-offs over the past 20 years that include “Brideshead Revisited,” “Upstairs Downstairs,” HBO’s “Band of Gold” and the “Masterpiece Theater” production “Moll Flanders.” Granada’s film division also produced the Oscar-winning feature “My Left Foot.”

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