Eyeworks buys ‘Maria’

BBC format sold to Amersterdam production company

The BBC announced the first international sale of its hit musical-based format “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” Friday, to Amsterdam-based prodco Eyeworks.

In the Dutch version, 10 finalists will compete for the role of Eva Peron in a new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical “Evita.”

The Blighty original revolved around Lloyd Webber’s search by for someone to play Maria in a West End production of “The Sound of Music.” The production has since opened, with winner Connie Fisher in the lead role. Production has been greeted with rave reviews.

The TV show, which ran over the summer, is expected to be one of the BBC’s most successful formats of 2006, garnering an average audience share of 28% during its 10-week, Saturday night run.

“I’m delighted that the Netherlands has become the first international market to acquire this brilliantly imaginative format,” said Colin Jarvis, director of formats at BBC Worldwide, which brokered the deal on behalf of the BBC and prodco Really Useful Group.