×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Legion’ Leads Bold Global Offerings From Fox Networks Group Content Distribution

Fox Networks Group Content Distribution, headed by exec VP and managing director Prentiss Fraser, has the best of both worlds.

“For all intents and purposes, we are operating like an independent distribution company,” Fraser says. However, the division benefits from the advantages derived from its symbiotic relationship with the Fox and National Geographic channels business. It sells the first window rights to the small number of territories where the channels don’t operate, and the second window rights to all their shows.

“We’ve got this really impressive, boots-on-the-ground channel business, and we’ve got the backing of a U.S. studio,” Fraser says.

“We are a boutique distribution company that was formed to be an extension of the channel business. We house over 16,000 hours of content that have been aggregated from 65 [channel] offices around the world, and we ensure that our content is getting exploited in a way that makes the most amount of money for our production partners and 21st Century Fox.”

The library comprises a small number of U.S. scripted series, around 200 hours, and around 7,000 hours of National Geographic programming, which is the central pillar of its offering. The rest of the content is local-language productions from around the world.

Leading the MipTV slate is FX and Marvel’s “Legion,” which is the first scripted drama series set in the X-Men universe to come into the market. It is written by Noah Hawley, best known for reinventing “Fargo” for the small screen, and toplines “Downton Abbey” and “Beauty and the Beast” star Dan Stevens.

“We are thrilled with [‘Legion’],” Fraser says. “It’s absolutely stunning. The story is intentionally complex, but that entices the viewer to watch and rewatch episodes to make sure they get every juicy detail.”

Other English-language drama series include “The Walking Dead,” “Wayward Pines,” and “Outcast.” “Our buyers know us for having edgy, provocative content,” Fraser says.

There are also scripted shows from National Geographic, including “Mars,” from Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment and Radical Media, and “Lawless Oceans,” about an investigator who tries to solve a murder committed on a ship.

The division has a wealth of local-language scripted shows from its Fox channels in such territories as Turkey and across Latin America. “Local-language productions are getting more popular, and assuring that it is aggregated in one spot is becoming increasingly more valuable for the business,” Fraser says.

The local-language scripted slate includes “2091,” which is billed as Latin America’s first original sci-fi show, and a provocative series called “Call Me Bruna,” the true story of a young woman who chooses to become a prostitute. “[It is] a very sexy series and is going gangbusters in Brazil,” Fraser says.

On the factual side, Jason Silva will be at MipDoc to present his National Geographic show “Origins: The Journey of Humankind.” New documentaries include “Gender Revolution: A Journey With Katie Couric,” about gender and transgender issues, and “LA 92,” which presents never-before-seen footage leading up to, during and after the Rodney King beating incident. The latter show comes from Oscar winners T.J. Martin and Daniel Lindsay, and Simon and Jonathan Chinn.

One thing that helps FNG Content Distribution stand out is the diversity of its offering. “We run the gamut to suit any broadcaster’s need so if they want to experiment with something it is a really great place to shop from,” Fraser says.

Another difference is that it provides its content in 34 languages. “When people are going to launch a channel or they need to have a large on-demand offering alongside their linear channels that is a really great opportunity for them,” she says.

Fraser has spent the past year strengthening the sales team. “We have doubled the size of the team and want to make sure we have got as many people sitting in the channel offices [around the world] as possible, working strategically with the channel, and really trying to elevate that relationship,” she says. “That’s what we are going to be spending the next year focusing on.”

More TV

  • Little Mix Star Jesy Nelson Making

    Little Mix's Jesy Nelson Making BBC Documentary About Mental Health and Body Image

    Little Mix star Jesy Nelson is making a one-off documentary for the BBC in which she will explore issues surrounding body shaming and mental health in the age of social media. “Jesy Nelson: My Story” will launch on the BBC’s youth-skewed online channel BBC Three and then play on BBC One. Girl band Little Mix [...]

  • MMA Alters Faces of Asia Sports

    MMA Alters Faces of Asian Sports Broadcasting

    Bruce Lee was ahead of the curve by about four decades when he predicted back in the early 1970s that combat sports would one day take the world by storm. Hong Kong’s favorite son had encouraged his own students to mix up the styles of martial arts they were being trained in — to combine kung fu [...]

  • Variety Kit Harington Game of Thrones

    Kit Harington on How 'Game of Thrones' Mirrors Real-World Politics

    In Variety‘s March 19 cover story, Kit Harington opens up about the final season of “Game of Thrones” and growing into adulthood as part of the biggest show on television. In a conversation in London in December, Harington opened up about the similarities between the series’ politics and our own. “I think it’s always been about [...]

  • Chris O'Dowd

    TV News Roundup: Chris O'Dowd to Star in 'Twilight Zone' Episode

    In today’s roundup, The CW has released two clips from the upcoming “Riverdale” special “Heathers: The Musical,” and Chris O’Dowd will star in an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”  CASTING Chris O’Dowd will star in CBS All Access’ rebooted “The Twilight Zone” episode titled “The Blue Scorpion.” The series will premiere with two episodes on [...]

  • Kevin Tsujihara

    Kevin Tsujihara's Ouster Kicks Off a Week of Major Disruption in the Media Business

    The sudden ouster of Warner Bros. Entertainment chief Kevin Tsujihara kicked off what is likely to go down as one of the most extraordinary weeks in Hollywood history, spelling enormous turmoil and transition across the media landscape. In addition to the news about Tsujihara, which comes amid a wider shake-up of leadership at AT&T’s WarnerMedia, [...]

  • Wendy Williams Sober Living House

    Wendy Williams Reveals She's Been Staying in a Sober-Living House

    Wendy Williams, during an emotional monologue on her talk show on Tuesday, revealed through tears that she has been staying at a sober-living house. “So you know me for being a very open and truthful person,” she began the segment on “The Wendy Williams Show,” fighting through tears. “And I’ve got more to the story [...]

  • Hong Kong Industry Executives Seek Clarity

    FilMart: Hong Kong Industry Executives Plead for Clarity on Mainland Chinese Tax Policies

    At a time of heightened scrutiny of tax affairs in China’s entertainment sector, even industry veterans in Hong Kong are struggling to figure out how to operate in the new financial environment and pleading for more clarity from the Chinese government. Hong Kong produces about 60 films a year, three-quarters of which are typically co-productions [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content