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‘Babylon Berlin,’ Mainland Europe’s Most Expensive Show, Set for Third Season (EXCLUSIVE)

A third season of “Babylon Berlin,” the landmark German period drama, is set to enter production later this year, Variety has learned. The new season of Europe’s most expensive non-English-language drama will continue to follow the exploits of police inspector Gereon Rath in decadent, seedy, politically fraught pre-war Berlin.

Work on the scripts is underway, with filming expected to start in October, a production source said. Some funding is in place from German agencies Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg and Film und Medienstiftung NRW.

The production, broadcast and distribution partners – X Filme Creative Pool, ARD Degeto, Sky and Beta Film – are in final negotiations on budgets and timing, but all are expected to board the third season. The partners said plans were underway for a new outing, and multiple sources told Variety it will happen this year.

“The process of development and financing of projects like ‘Babylon Berlin’ is rather complex,” an ARD spokesman said. “The partners X Filme Creative Pool, ARD Degeto, Sky and Beta Film are in final negotiations.”

The lavish show was initially greenlit for two back-to-back seasons, which were shot concurrently and comprised 16 hours in total. The new outing will be for a single run of eight to 10 episodes. The power trio of German film director Tom Tykwer, Henk Handloegten and Achim von Borries was behind the series and is expected to return for Season 3.

Netflix acquired the first two seasons for the U.S., running them with subtitles and in a dubbed version. It is not yet clear if the streamer is back in for the new season. The show sold well internationally, landing in almost 100 territories with services such as Canal+ in France and HBO Europe, among others. Sky played it in Germany, the U.K. and Italy. German pubcaster ARD had a free-TV window.

German drama is having a golden moment, with the likes of “Babylon Berlin,” “Das Boot,” “Deutschland 86” and “Four Blocks” among the buzziest projects in the global scripted market.

By European standards, “Babylon Berlin” had a huge budget of about €40 million ($47.2 million according to current exchange rates). Based on the series of novels by Volker Kutscher, the show stars Volker Bruch as detective Rath and actors Liv Lisa Fries, Peter Kurth, Matthias Brandt and Leonie Benesch in other roles.

“‘Babylon Berlin’ is its own separate planet, with its own climate, its own vegetation,” Bruch told Variety earlier this year. “As an actor, to be a guest there is to be on an expedition to another world. It’s simply magnificent.”

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