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Sky Italia, Wildside to Produce ‘The Miracle’ Series for International Market (EXCLUSIVE)

ROME – Sky Italia is expanding its production of original dramas for the international market with “The Miracle,” a TV series centered on a statue of the Virgin Mary that weeps tears of blood. The series is written by bestselling Italian novelist Niccolò Ammaniti, who will also serve as showrunner.

Like other Sky Italia originals that have travelled widely, such as “Gomorrah” and “1992,” “The Miracle” will be in Italian. But the production model “is the most similar to the American showrunner model that we’ve ever done, with a writer showrunning the directors,” said Sky Italia chief of content Andrea Scrosati.

Co-produced by Sky and FremantleMedia-owned Wildside, “The Miracle” will be directed by Francesco Munzi (“Black Souls”), Lucio Pellegrini (“The Perfect Life”), and Ammaniti (pictured), who will be making his debut as a TV helmer, following his feature-length doc “The Good Life” in 2014. FremantleMedia International will handle world sales.

Ammaniti’s novels, translated into English and several other languages, have been made into six movies, including “I’m Not Scared” by Gabriele Salvatore and “Me and You” by Bernardo Bertolucci.

“The Miracle” takes its cue from the fact that “there have been a lot of crying Madonnas in Italy,” said Scrosati, referring to supposedly miraculous occurrences of this type that periodically surface across the country. “If you go to the place, everybody will tell you it’s true, but in their heart they know it’s not. But what happens if it’s actually true?”

“How would politicians react to this? How would the church react to this?….There is obviously money involved. And the characters that interact with this event, their lives are completely affected in ways that you would not expect,” Scrosati said of the show’s concept.

Production on “The Miracle” will start in Italy in coming weeks, with most of the shooting taking place in Rome. Casting details are being kept under wraps.

Other Sky Italia originals that are either ready or expected to air over the next 12 to 15 months include:

— “1993”: The second installment of the Italian political corruption series, following “1992,” premiered on Sky Atlantic in Italy on Tuesday. 1993 was a dark year in Italian history, with the so-called Clean Hands corruption investigation prompting several suicides and raising questions of judicial fairness. Future Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi becomes an element in the show. Beta sold “1992,” co-produced by Sky and Wildside, to roughly 100 territories. They expect to do the same with “1993,” Scrosati said. The next season, “1994,” has been greenlit and will complete a trilogy.

—“Gomorrah 3”: The third season of the crimer, Italy’s biggest TV export, is in final stages of principal photography in Naples. This season will depict a new generation of mobsters “that is very violent, but also less crazy and more organized,” Scrosati said.

— “ZeroZeroZero”: The long-gestating skein based on a chronicle of the global cocaine trade by Roberto Saviano (on whose bestselling book “Gomorrah” was based), is now going forward. The scripts are finished. Director Stefano Sollima, which is wrapping up post-production on his Benicio Del Toro thriller “Soldado,” has done some location scouting. The show, which will be mostly English-language, is produced by Cattleya and expected to go on air in either June or October 2018.

As recently announced, HBO and Sky have teamed up on “The New Pope,” a new limited series to be directed by Paolo Sorrentino that will not be a second season of “The Young Pope.” Plans are for “The New Pope” to go into production in Italy in late 2018, for delivery in 2019.

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