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Series Mania: Entertainment One, Palomar Team for Roberto Saviano’s ‘Gaddafi’

TV series is co-created and developed by ‘Gomorrah’ writer; eOne is also developing "Villette"

PARIS — Entertainment One and Italy’s Palomar are partnering on “Gaddafi,” a new series which is being developed by Italy’s Roberto Saviano, one of the most sought-after talents on the burgeoning European TV scene.

Saviano’s best selling first novel, “Gommorah,” was adapted into a movie, which he co-wrote, that won a Cannes Grand Prix and a TV series, again with the same title, which was acquired by Sundance TV and Netflix. The reach of the series’ international sales proved a milestone in the building breakout of foreign-language TV series to sales in territories around the world.

Based on the life and times of Libyan tyrant Muammar Gaddafi and his impact of the contemporary world, “Gaddafi” is created and written by Saviano and Nadav Schirman, director of “The Green Prince” which opened the 2014 Sundance World Cinema Documentary Competition, winning the audience award there. Entertainment One and Palomar will co-produce “Gaddafi,” with eOne controlling world rights to the series.

“As international co-productions continue to be a very important part of our global content strategy, we are thrilled to partner with Palomar, who share our passion for creating bold dramas,” said Pancho Mansfield, president, global scripted programming, eOne Television.

Given “Gaddafi” is in English, eOne will be looking to bring in a U.S. or U.K. anchor broadcaster on the series, said Polly Williams,  VP, scripted development, eOne Television, who is based out of eOne’s London office. eOne’s traditional fiction focus has been on U.S. shows. “Gaddafi” forms part of a drama development drive from eOne which is seeing it not only develop a substantial slate of U.K. drama but look more and more at partnerships in Europe, she added.

In a further instance of eOne’s drive into Europe out of its London offices, Williams confirmed that eOne was interested in linking up with a French production company to develop “Villette,” a screen adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s last and maybe greatest novel. The script is currently being written by an Academy Award nominated women scriptwriter. eOne would welcome a highness French director coming on board to direct, Williams added.

Williams made the announcement of “Gaddafi” at a Series Mania keynote presentation on Wednesday of eOne international drama expansion outside the U.S., where she was accompanied on stage by Jude Troy, EVP TV development and acquisitions for Australia.

“Gaddafi” was described by eOne and Palomar in a statement Wednesday as an “epic, contemporary and cruel story” about “a man with a bottomless desire for power that wanted a worldwide revolution.”

“This is a TV series about a warrior, a dreamer, who becomes a savage and merciless tyrant. A multi-millionaire oil tycoon and a vicious oppressor,” said Saviano.

He added: “It’s the story of an adventurer from the desert, a rock ‘n’ roll tyrant, who self-ascribed terrorist attacks he didn’t organize and associations with terrorist groups that he did not know in order to have the monopoly on one of his most important assets – fear.”

Carlo Degli Esposti, president of Palomar called “Gaddafi” an “untold, visionary, tragic story of madness.”

Saviano and Schirman will executive produce “Gaddafi.” The series is being spearheaded by eOne’s Carrie Stein and Williams for eOne and Esposti and Nicola Serra for Palomar.

“Gaddafi” forms part of a recent production alliance between Saviano and Palomar which will see Palomar – a Rome-based TV-film production house which is behind classic detective series “Montalbano” – produce a movie version of Saviano’s latest bestseller “La Paranza dei Bambini,” as well as TV series originated by Saviano, said Serra, a Palomar partner and managing director.

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