Mark Burnett picks ‘Head Cases’

Starz comedy set for international adaptation

Mark Burnett Prods. has signed on to adapt the Starz comedy “Head Case” for audiences outside the U.S.

Deal reps the first time Burnett has taken a scripted format and sold it internationally. It also reps a first for Starz, which is still a newbie in the original series world.

“Head Case,” which stars Alexandra Wentworth as the “it” therapist to Hollywood stars, comes from the Farrand/Bauer Co. Show is already seen in 89 territories.

Burnett has begun talking to broadcasters in several of those countries, including Argentina, the U.K. and Colombia, about producing local versions.

Deal came about after “Head Case” exec producers Robert Bauer and Jason Farrand were meeting with C. Scot Cru, who oversees international distribution and production at Mark Burnett Prods., on an unrelated matter. Bauer and Farrand handed Cru a DVD set for “Head Case” — and after watching the show, Cru said he realized it was a good fit for Burnett’s growing international business.

“This was something that Mark and I believed in creatively,” Cru said. “It’s the first thing we’ve done outside of our own brand. We believe we’ll be in production in no less than seven territories by the end of the year.”

Driving the international expansion is the unique celeb-driven aspect of “Head Case,” which regularly features real-life famous folk on the couch. Jerry Seinfeld, Hugh Hefner, Geri Halliwell, Jeff Goldblum and Jeff Probst have all appeared on the show.

Shows in each region will feature celebrity guests from those countries — adding a dose of localism to the format.

“We feel from a format standpoint, this show has a unique editorial style and cadence,” Farrand said.

Wentworth, who co-created the show, will help produce the international editions as well, alongside Mark Burnett Prods. and Farrand/Bauer.

“This remains a trail-blazing project for us,” said Starz programming exec VP Stephan Shelanski. “Crazy shrinks and dysfunctional celebrities are not just a U.S. phenomenon.”

Burnett launched his international arm in 2000; the company has produced international editions of shows such as “The Apprentice,” “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” and “The Contender” all over the world.

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