International Newswire: HBO Adds Foreign-Language Dramas to U.S. Service

HBO Adds Foreign-Language Dramas to U.S. Service
Courtesy of HBO

In today’s International Newswire, HBO adds foreign-language series to its U.S. service; Discovery and animation company Nelvana launch kids’ content joint-venture; Hungary’s TV2 takes scripted format ‘Step Dave’; and Miami-based BTF Media to produce Latin America telenovelas in Turkey.

This year’s Mipcom has done little to suggest a lessening in buyers’ interest in foreign-language drama. Quite the reverse. In a consecration of its appeal, HBO chairman-CEO Richard Plepler confirmed at his Mipcom Variety Vanguard Award keynote on Monday that the company’s U.S. service will be adding to its HBO Go, HBO Now and HBO On Demand lineup a bevy of original foreign-language series from HBO Europe, HBO Latin America and HBO Asia services.

The first of those titles, to be made available from December, are now known. From HBO Europe, U.S. HBO clients will be able to view Czech Republic’s miniseries “Wasteland,” and seasons one and two of Poland’s “Pakt.” From HBO Asia, HBO is sourcing Taiwan’s “The Teenage Psychic,” and Indonesia/Thailand’s “Halfworld”; HBO Latin America – seasons one and two of “El Hipnotizador,” and its latest release, “The Secret Life of Couples.”

The content is produced and aired by HBO in the native languages of the series. Some shows have received both critical acclaim and award recognition at festivals like Toronto and Karlovy Vary. The content was all created for domestic markets, but is further proof that programming done with a local audience in mind now increasingly travels.

Discovery Communications and Corus Entertainment-owned animation company Nelvana have formed a joint-venture to produce content for the kids’ market worldwide.

The yet-to-be named venture, to based in Canada, will operate independently of Corus, Discovery and Nelvana’s other businesses. Nelvana’s children’s content includes “Babar,” “Franklin,” “Max & Ruby,” “Ranger Rob,” “Mysticons” and “Hotel Transylvania: The Series.” Nelvana licenses its content in more than 160 countries and Corus operates five of the top five kids’ channels in Canada.

Discovery Kids is the number one pre-school network in Latin America, and has been the top pay-TV network in Brazil for eight years, and operates the popular Discovery Kids Play digital app.

South Pacific Pictures’ scripted format “Step Dave” has been signed to Hungary’s TV2 in a deal inked with distributor All3Media International. The feel-good family drama was previously acquired by NBC in the U.S.

Originally produced for TV2 in New Zealand, the format has previously been acquired by FILM.UA for the CIS territories, Merlin Productions for France and French-speaking territories, and Kapa Studios for Greece.

The show centers on 24-year-old slacker Dave who finds his life turned upside down when he meets the girl of his dreams, Cara, and her three kids.

The U.S. version of “Step Dave” will be produced by Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner through their production company Hazy Mills, with Emily Cutler (“Community”) attached to write.

If you can’t beat them… Miami-based BTF Media, producer of Disney’s Juan Gabriel biopic “Until I Met You,” the TV drama that persuaded the Mouse House to drive into original bio-series production in Latin America, has struck a production alliance with Turkey’s Soho Formats to produce Latin America telenovelas out of Turkey, flying in Latino talent, BTF Media head Francisco Cordero told TodoTVNews at Mipcom.

The “hybrid” production model, as Cordero called it, reflects the extraordinary success that Turkish dramas are garnering on Latin American small screens, and their production costs and standards. BTF España is already repurposing Turkish telenovela “Love Is Calling” for Spain.