Yellow Bird Sweden, the Banijay-owned Scandinavian production company behind “Headhunters” and “Occupied,” is joining forces with its sister company Bunim/Murray Productions to launch Yellow Bird U.S.
A close joined venture between the two Banijay-owned banners, Yellow Bird U.S. will be headed by Marianne Gray, a producer at Yellow Bird Sweden who played a key role in some of the company’s biggest hits, “Headhunters” and “Occupied.” Yellow Bird launched in the U.K. earlier this year.
“Yellow Bird U.S. is the result of two of the group’s leading brands coming together in one of the world’s biggest markets,” said Marco Bassetti, CEO of Banijay Group. “The original Swedish label has long built a strong reputation for high-quality, award-winning drama, and we look forward to seeing this success replicated via the partnership with fellow market-leader, Bunim/Murray Productions.”
Gray is currently spearheading the production on an upcoming series shooting in Italy. Based in Bunim/Murray Productions’s Los Angeles offices, Gray will collaborate closely with its chairman and CEO, Gil Goldschein, to develop and produce original, English-language scripted content for both U.S. and global audiences. Gray will also be tapping into Bunim/Murray Productions’s established relationships with both traditional and SVOD players to exploit Banijay Group’s well-known formats.
Goldschein said that “in light of BMP’s own scripted aspirations, the current appetite for global, quality dramas, and Yellow bird’s stellar reputation, (he and Jensen) both felt that a partnership in the U.S. would be key to taking the brand to the next level worldwide.”
Gray has already optioned Åsa Schwartz’s bestselling Swedish novel “The 7 Keys,” and most recently Lisa Jewell’s “I Found You from.”
Established in Sweden 15 years ago, Yellow Bird broke through the international drama scene with the staple Nordic Noir series “Wallander.” Led by Johannes Jensen, its CEO, Yellow Bird went on to deliver several global hits, including Occupied, Asa Larsson’s “Rebecka Martinsson,” as well as Stieg Larsson’s “Millenium” trilogy. The company is part of Jacob Houlind-led Banijay Nordics.
Gray pointed out that the “the partnership with Bunim/Murray provides the perfect opportunity to transport Yellow Bird into the U.S.” and bring “a Scandi edge to the American Scripted market.”