×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Downton Abbey’ Producer Sets Up Drama Development Scheme for Emerging Writers

Carnival Films, the NBCUniversal-owned production company behind “Downton Abbey,” has set up the Collective, an initiative that will see it work with up-and-coming writers and create a new drama development slate.

The first writers in the program are Grace Ofori-Attah (“In the Long Run”), Ben Lewis (“Psychobitches”), Roanne Bardsley (“Hollyoaks”), James Fritz (“Parliament Square”), and comedy and drama duo Matilda Wnek and Ryan O’Sullivan (“Other People”).

Carnival’s head of development, Jo Strevens will oversee the initiative with development producer, Tara Cook, and development executive, Claire Daxter. The London-based production company will train and guide the writers to work up new projects in response to briefs from broadcasters. “Carnival aims to create a fresh development slate with the Collective talent, in direct response to broadcaster needs,” the company said.

Carnival, which makes “The Last Kingdom” and “Stan Lee’s Lucky Man,” has employed breakout talent on several of its shows including “Jamestown.”

Gareth Neame, executive chairman, said: “We are always seeking to expand our horizons in terms of the best writing talent, and take our responsibility to nurture talent very seriously. ‘Collective’ is a great way of doing just that and we’re delighted to be working with some of the most exciting, emerging creative voices coming out of the U.K. today.”

Grace Ofori-Attah added: “Having the opportunity to sit down and discuss your ideas with a group of talented writers, as well as experienced development executives in an open, safe and supportive environment is invaluable. The scheme will challenge me to step outside my comfort zone and give me the confidence to really run riot with my ideas.”

More TV

  • Brandi Carlile,Maren Morris. Brandi Carlile and

    ACM Awards Add Brandi Carlile, Kelly Clarkson, Dan + Shay to Performance Lineup

    Brooks & Dunn had a hit once called “Put a Girl In It,” and that’s just what the Academy of Country Music Awards have done, adding Kelly Clarkson, Brandi Carlile and Ashley McBryde to the lineup of performers for the April 7 telecast on CBS. While they’re at it, they also added Brooks & Dunn, [...]

  • Rory Kinnear

    Showtime's ‘Penny Dreadful: City of Angels’ Adds Rory Kinnear

    Rory Kinnear is returning to the world of “Penny Dreadful,” Variety has learned. The acclaimed British actor, who is best known for playing MI6 operative Bill Tanner in the James Bond films and portrayed the horrifically scarred Creature on the original show, has been cast in the role of Dr. Peter Craft in “Penny Dreadful: City [...]

  • Gary Knell

    Listen: National Geographic Chief Gary Knell on Disney Future, Fox's Legacy

    The marriage of National Geographic Partners and Disney, which becomes official today, is the proverbial brand match made in heaven. Disney is taking over the stewardship of Nat Geo Partners — a joint venture with the National Geographic Society — as part of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The transition comes at a time [...]

  • Joke Stealing Legal Recourse

    Why It's Rarely Easy to Prove Joke Theft in the Legal World

    How far would you go to defend a dirty joke about having sex with a pumpkin? Comedians Ryan Hoffman and Nick Ruggia spoke with Variety about their claims that recent “Saturday Night Live” segments “Pumpkin Patch” and “Pound Puppy” plagiarized two of their sketches that were uploaded years earlier to the YouTube channel for their comedy troupe [...]

  • John Slattery

    John Slattery Cast as Lead in Fox Pilot ‘neXT’

    “Mad Men” star John Slattery has been cast in the lead role for the upcoming Fox drama pilot “neXT,” Variety has learned. The show is described as a fact-based thriller grounded in the latest A.I. research. It features a brilliant but paranoid former tech CEO who joins a Homeland Cybersecurity Agent and her team to stop the world’s first [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content