×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fox Intl. Channels opens wallet for originals

News Corp. unit developing projects designed for global launches

Fox Intl. Channels is open for business in Hollywood.

News Corp.’s international cable unit has quietly been ramping up series development activity out of L.A., spearheaded by Sharon Tal Yguado, senior veep of scripted programming. FIC is using its worldwide heft to commission original series that can be given the global rollout treatment across the unit’s 350-plus channels in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. FIC’s goal is to develop original series with partners that sell to U.S. networks (inside and outside the News Corp. family) and then can be heavily promoted as event programming for FIC outlets.

Among the projects in FIC’s pipeline is fantasy drama “Pulp,” now being co-developed with Fox Television Studios, writer Michael Davis (“Shoot ‘Em Up”) and producer Don Murphy. Project, based on tome “The Book With No Name,” revolves around an oddball group of characters seeking a mysterious blue stone. Tal Yguado calls it “‘The X-Files’ meets Tarantino.”

“Future Sociopaths” is a script FIC picked up on a spec from Daniel Arkin (“Suits”) about a professor and serial killer profiler grappling with his domestic obligations as a husband and father. FIC is about to shop the project to prospective U.S. production partners.

FIC’s push into original series has been fueled by its success in the past two years with the rollouts across the channel group for AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” FX’s “American Horror Story” and, most recently, Fox’s “Touch.”

“It showed us what a powerful platform we are in terms of our channel reach and our marketing and the impact we can have in breaking a hit show,” Tal Yguado said.

Expanding into wholly original material was the next logical step for FIC, which spent the past decade bulking up under the direction of David Haslingden, prexy-COO of Fox Networks Group, and FIC prexy-CEO Hernan Lopez.

Tal Yguado, a seven-year FIC vet, heads a team of three development execs based in L.A. They’re in the midst of clearing rights to more books and graphic novels, and they’re looking to ink a few first-look deals with writers and producers who can deliver the kind of tentpole fare that gets attention around the world. Tal Yguado and her team are making the rounds of the major percenteries in the next few weeks to explain the strategy and troll for new prospects.

“We started about two years ago with baby steps and letting people know that we had the budget to be a co-producer,” Tal Yguado said. “Now we’re moving more aggressively, and we want people to bring us their projects. Now we’re at the stage where we need to secure our own IP.”

FIC’s success with “Walking Dead” was eye opening for the division’s programmers. Tal Yguado had been concentrating on finding a traditional procedural franchise given the enduring appeal of “CSI,” “House” and “Law and Order” series overseas. “Walking Dead” showed FIC execs the importance of having a strong marketable hook and a concept immediately distinguishable from the competition.

“That showed us we wanted to be in partnership with or develop shows that are loud, sassy tentpoles but have very grounded, strong characters at the center,” she said.

FIC was in on “Walking Dead” from the show’s inception, inking a co-financing pact with AMC in exchange for international distribution rights. The zombie apocalypse drama has been such a hit overseas that FIC has been able to launch two channels based on audience demand for the show: FX Australia and Fox Crime in Norway.

Another project FIC has helped shepherd from the start is Gale Anne Hurd’s pirate drama “Port Royale,” in development at FX.

Although FIC has the means to commission series strictly for its outlets, it’s a big selling point for the channels to promote a show as bowing simultaneously with its U.S. run. That means FIC is not looking to the U.S. so much for help in financing a show but for the marketing value — a strategy that is becoming more prevalent as internationally focused production-distribution companies like Entertainment One, Gaumont and Cineflix make inroads in the U.S.

“Our channels carry the Fox brand, and that brand stands for the best U.S. content,” Tal Yguado said. “We really need to give our shows the feel of a global release. It’s not as powerful if you don’t have a U.S. partner.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Breaking Bad Movie

    'Breaking Bad' Movie: Watch the First Teaser for 'El Camino'

    In case you hadn’t heard, Emmy-winning drama “Breaking Bad” is cooking up a movie sequel. On Saturday, after details of Netflix’s project quietly leaked online, the streaming giant issued the first teaser for “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which will be released on October 11. Starring Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, the “Breaking Bad” [...]

  • Breaking Bad

    'Breaking Bad' Movie Release Date, Title and Plot Revealed

    The “Breaking Bad” movie is coming to Netflix sooner than you might think. The film, titled “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” is now set to be released on Netflix on Oct. 11, according to a report from the New York Times, with Aaron Paul returning as the series’ popular meth cook Jesse Pinkman. Jesse [...]

  • Laurence FishburneNational Memorial Day Concert Dress

    Laurence Fishburne to Produce 'Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur' Series for Disney Channel

    Laurence Fishburne is stepping into the animation game. The “Matrix” star is set to executive produce “Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur,” an animated series which has been given the greenlight at Disney Channel. Based on Marvel’s comic book series, the show hails from from Disney Television Animation and follows the adventures of 13-year-old super-genius [...]

  • Aracne

    Chile’s Sanfic, Mexico’s Morbido Fest Pact to Promote Latino Horror (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexican horror festival Morbido and Chile’s Santiago Intl. Film Festival (Sanfic) have agreed on a long-term collaboration intended to strengthen the genre film industry in Chile and across Latin America. This partnership will see Morbido representatives attend the Sanfic industry section each year to aid in the promotion of horror projects and advise those projects [...]

  • 'The Simpsons' Producers Talk Joining Disney,

    'The Simpsons' Producers Talk Joining Disney, Potential Spinoff Series

    “The Simpsons” has never shied away from lampooning Disney over the years, but maybe that’s no longer the case. Homer, Marge and co. are of course now part of the Disney family and made their first appearance at the Mouse House’s D23 Expo convention, where the show’s producers were asked plenty of questions about what [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content