Kinetic Content, the production company launched by former RDF USA topper Chris Coelen, has sealed its first major deal: A programming pact with U.K. broadcaster Channel 4.
Under the deal, which Coelen describes as “a new finance model for scripted TV,” Channel 4’s 4 Rights arm will serve as a partner to Kinetic as Coelen and company develop cable dramas and miniseries for the U.S. marketplace.
Kinetic will focus on locating U.S. talent and forming a pitch, which it will then sell, side Chan-nel 4, to U.S. cable outlets. Channel 4 will keep the U.K. broadcast rights, while Kinetic holds on to global rights for the rest of the world.
“These are 100% American shows,” said Coelen, differentiating the Kinetic/Channel 4 alliance from past international co-productions. Coelen said he sought out a deal with Channel 4 because the broadcaster remains one of the world’s top buyers of U.S. programming.
“Channel 4 and 4 Rights have always stood for and invested in high quality, bold commercial programming initiatives,” Coelen said. “Their vision makes them the perfect partner to join forces with in this programming venture.”
Kinetic will work closely with Channel 4’s Los Angeles-based program acquisition consultant, Crispin Leyser. Channel 4 will have a role in the creative approval of scripts, and will consult with Kinetic as Coelen’s team scouts out writers and showrunners and identifies U.S. outlets.
“With the explosion of high quality, shorter-run cable dramas, there’s a real opportunity for us to get involved in developing and co-funding U.S. series that we know will deliver ratings for Channel 4 as well as generate considerable secondary revenues for 4 Rights,” said 4 Rights’ Dominic Schreiber, who serves as rights development manager.
Deal is not only the first major one for Kinetic, but also reps the inaugural development pact for 4 Rights, which “is responsible for managing and exploiting TV rights through a wide range of businesses.”
Besides the Kinetic deal, 4 Rights’ development team has several projects in the works with U.K. indie producers.
Channel 4’s appetite for U.S. fare over the years has included “Friends,” “Frasier,” “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos.” More recently, the broadcaster picked up the rights to “Southland,” “Glee” and “The Pillars of the Earth.”
Coelen’s relationship with U.K. programmers goes back to his days as an agent at UTA, where he set up scripted projects in the U.S. for Brit companies such as Shed, Red, Touchpaper Television, Wall to Wall and Monkey Kingdom.
Later, at RDF USA, Coelen worked with Channel 4 and Showtime on their drama co-production “Meadowlands.”