Jane Tranter: BBC Worldwide Prods. Taps Success

Subsid of Brit pubcaster mines hits with shows like 'Da Vinci's Demons'

BBC Worldwide Prods. is developing British scripted series in America for the world with former BBC head of fiction Jane Tranter at the helm. Since Tranter came to the U.S. in 2009 to run BBC Worldwide Prods., it has grown from having two shows on the air to more than 20 series in production.

In 2012 BBC Worldwide Prods. created label Adjacent Prods. dedicated to projects that are not based upon BBC formats.

The brand will function alongside but separate from the rapidly growing BBC Worldwide Prods., which in 2012 produced more than 140 hours of original programming — some but not all derived from BBC-created programming.

But was the process of commissioning and producing drama much different in the U.S.?

“Scripted takes as long to get going in the U.S. as it does in the U.K. I’ve been here in L.A. for four years. Only now are we shooting the second season (10 episodes compared with first run of eight) of “Da Vinci’s Demons,” Tranter says. “That’s a fulfilment of the strategy to come out here to live and work in American TV. We needed to understand what U.S. broadcasters want so that we are able to make drama using British talent, shot in Britain and made the British way but which works for the U.S. I couldn’t do that from the U.K. You can’t make drama for people like Starz without understanding what premium cable TV is like here.”

She adds that in the past, she’s worked on co-productions that have started in the U.K., filmed there and the partners have come on board as the project develops. But now, “it’s the U.S. coming in from the start and putting the majority of the money in — vast amounts of money.”

The budget for Da Vinci’s Demons is also U.S. premium-cable style: “(It) was really large, not as much as Game of Thrones (which reportedly cost around $60 million for its first season), but twice as much as I’ve ever had to spend on anything,” Tranter says.

She wouldn’t be drawn on a specific budget amount but the first season is reported to have cost $30 million. The Welsh government helped finance building of a studio for the series in a former car factory at Swansea Bay.

BBC Worldwide Prods. is also commissioning and producing two comedy series: “Getting On” for HBO, which has just been commissioned, and “Us & Them,” which was picked up by Fox for a midseason order of 13.

“They are both reformatted versions of British shows. ‘Getting On’ is based on the BBC show of the same name starring Jo Brand and set in a NHS hospital. It has run for three seasons (in the U.K.). ‘Us & Them’ is a remake of (BBC hit) ‘Gavin and Stacey,’ ” says Tranter. “No one else in the U.S. apart from HBO would have done ‘Getting On.’ It’s completely the opposite end of the spectrum to a show like ‘Girls.’ There’s no makeup and no costumes. If the cast look tired, they look tired — none of the normal stuff, no support underwear!”

What does she about working in London?

“I miss everybody — writers, actors, producers, all my colleagues. I miss that sense of a collegiate atmosphere. British TV is an art form. People are putting their heart and soul into it. Here it’s a business opportunity. There’s a frisson about that, but it’s not the same.”

More TV

  • Bob GreenblattCreating Great Characters: Dick Wolf

    Bob Greenblatt on WarnerMedia Streaming Strategy: 'The Assets are Undeniable'

    CANNES — AT&T is ready for battle in the streaming wars. The new parent company of HBO and Warner Bros. has moved quickly to respond to consumer demand by marshaling its forces behind the launch next spring of HBO Max, WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told a crowd of international TV and digital executives here [...]

  • Roberto Gomez Bolanos Mexican actor Roberto

    Chespirito Media Universe in Development from Grupo Chespirito, Thr3 Media Group

    Mexican production companies Grupo Chespirito and Thr3 Media Group have come to terms on a deal to co-produce multi-media content and create the Chespirito Media Universe based on the characters and world of Mexico and Latin America’s most iconic TV creator, director, producer and actor, Chespirito. Thr3 Media Group was launched in January 2018 by [...]

  • Bastian-and-Fabienne_2btube-Office-1

    2btube Adds Lacoproductora to Facebook, YouTube Originals Alliances

    CANNES —  Fast-driving from a huge digital media publishing base into the creation and production of premium content for global platforms and beyond, top Spanish-language digital native media group 2btube has clinched a wide-ranging production partnership with José Miguel Contreras’ Madrid-based Lacoproductora. The deal comes fast on the heels of 2btube’s production alliance with Facebook [...]


    Spain's Fasten Films Nabs Remake Rights to Argentine Series 'The Cleaning Lady' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Barcelona-based company Fasten Films has optioned Spanish and Portuguese adaptation rights to Argentine suspense series “La chica que limpia” (“The Cleaning Lady”). The deal was negotiated with Argentine distributors RM Vistar and GlowStar, who jointly handle the format’s international sales. A Mexican remake of the series is being produced by Turner Latin America, alongside BTF [...]

  • Motiv: Max ConzeFoto: © ProSiebenSat.1/Martin SaumweberDieses

    ProSiebenSat.1 Boss Max Conze Unfazed By the Invasion of the Digital Streaming Giants

    Max Conze, CEO of German broadcast company ProSiebenSat.1 since June last year, appeared relatively relaxed about the prospect of the coming invasion of new subscription streaming players like Disney Plus into his territory when speaking to journalists at TV market and conference Mipcom in Cannes Tuesday. “Disney will not lock away all their content,” he [...]

  • Irmaos Freitas

    Amazon Prime Video takes Turner’s ‘Freitas Brothers’

    CANNES — In yet another – and significant – Latin America distribution deal for the now highly active OTT giant, Amazon Prime Video has acquired Brazilian and pan-Spanish-speaking Latin American SVOD rights to Turner Latin America’s highly anticipated “Freitas Brothers.” The announcement was made late Tuesday by Turner Latin America at Cannes Mipcom TV and [...]

  • Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, Cory Booker,

    Nonsense Ellen DeGeneres Question Derails an Otherwise Substantive Democratic Debate (Column)

    The fourth Democratic debate was dangerously close to being substantive. For almost three (3!) hours, the twelve (12!) candidates onstage tackled questions on foreign policy, reproductive rights, health care, gun control, big tech, and the opioid crisis. While the other debates — and indeed, the entire 2016 presidential campaign — have been marked by meme-able [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content