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Sky Drives Into Entertainment Formats, Signs Cat Deeley for ‘Sing It’

Sky is making a renewed effort to stake a claim in the entertainment-format space, commissioning three new series, including one with Cat Deeley. The U.K. pay-TV operator has greenlit the a cappella singing competition “Sing It,” which will be fronted by Deeley (“So You Think You Can Dance”); “Carmageddon,” a car combat series; and “Revolution,” in which skateboarders, BMXers and in-line skaters will take each other on.

Phil Edgar Jones, Sky’s head of entertainment, said that in seeking buzzy event shows, it had drawn inspiration from movies and film genres.

“We wanted to take the idea of films and movies as a starting point,” Edgar Jones said. “‘Carmageddon’ was pitched to us a version of ‘Mad Max,’ so that made sense to us; we thought if we were going to do a car show it’d have to be like ‘The Fast and the Furious’ or ‘Mad Max.’ If we’re going to do an entertainment sports idea, we wanted it to feel like it inhabited a kind of science fiction world, hence ‘Revolution.’ With our a cappella singing show, that came into us through Universal Music and the makers of ‘Pitch Perfect.'”

“Sing It” marks Deeley’s return to British screens as a presenter after a stint in the US. It will pitch teams of a cappella groups against one another over different rounds and will be filmed in East London and produced by Fizz. “I remember singing in the choir when I was a kid and loving every minute,” Deeley said. “The British a cappella scene is so exciting and I’m thrilled to be able to be part of it.”

Sky’s flagship Sky One channel will get a new look as the channel moves away from factual and into entertainment. The new entertainment series will sit alongside Sky’s original drama and comedy, while original documentaries are now only on Sky Arts.

“Carmageddon” will be filmed in South Africa and pitch teams of engineers, mechanics, and drivers against one another as they build and race “Mad Max”-style machines. Edgar Jones said his German colleagues at Sky Deutschland are looking at a local version of “Revolution,” which will be filmed in Bedford, England, and pit 10 skateboarders against 10 in-line skaters and 10 BMXers.

The pay-TV operator is also developing a slate of big-scale factual entertainment shows along the lines of “The Island” and “Hunted.”

Sky’s distribution division, Sky Vision, will sell the “Sing It” and “Revolution” formats, the latter in association with GroupM’s Motion Content Group. Motion is also making “Carmageddon” for Sky with Primal Media, the U.K.-based indie backed by Lionsgate.

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