In the wake of Granada’s emergence as the top ITV station in the U.K., the British media conglom will turn its attention to boosting its international presence, especially in the U.S.
The company’s Stateside offshoot is hoping to capitalize on the growing receptiveness among U.S. TV execs for Euro-originated concepts and formats — an openness piqued by the success of reality formats like “Survivor” and “Millionaire.”
Antony Root, acting prexy of Granada Entertainment USA, told Daily Variety that his unit is currently pitching some 15 scripted formats around town, as well as a clutch of reality concepts and TV movie projects.
Root, a Brit whose background is as a producer, took over in May from Scott Siegler, who ankled to hook up with a dot-com. Root most recently produced the miniseries “Longitude,” which aired here on cabler A&E.
Sights on the States
Although Granada currently has several series or made-fors on U.S. cable, it is clearly hoping to step up the quantity and the range of its projects in the U.S. The company may eventually seek a steady production partner Stateside, per Root.
Among the hot properties making the rounds now are a U.S. version of “Metropolis” — a “Sex and the City” meets “Twin Peaks” show that is a popular primetime drama on Granada in the U.K. — and a format of “Royle Family,” a top-rated comedy that airs on the BBC but is produced by Granada.
Root points out that Granada also has an active reality series unit back in London headed by light entertainment specialist Marcus Plantin. A deal for an original series called “Boot Camp,” which focuses on men and women engaged in military-style endurance tests, was recently inked with Fox, while another called “Find a Fortune,” which tracks lost heirs, is being shopped to various cablers.
In addition, Granada USA will shoot this month its seventh made-for, for the “Wonderful World of Disney” strand on ABC. Called “Hearts and Arrows,” it’s a period piece focusing on the imaginary daughter of Robin Hood.
Now that Granada has clinched its takeover of most of the assets of United News and Media, one of the other top three ITV stations (Daily Variety, July 31), company execs say they will focus on international alliances in the U.S., Continental Europe and Australia.
On the programming side, Root says he has already had strategy sessions with his counterparts in Germany and Australia — Granada Germany managing director Rikolt von Gagern and Red Hot managing director David Champtaloup, respectively — to come up with joint projects. All three execs report to Andrea Wonfor, who is a top creative exec at Granada in the U.K.
As for shows already on the air in the U.S. and put into place previously under Siegler, “Beggars and Choosers” has been renewed for a second season by Showtime, while “Day One,” a drama for the WB, is still hoping for a midseason pickup.
“Cold Feet,” a drama for the Peacock web, was canceled this past season after 12 episodes.