×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Rake’ Producer Essential Media Back in the International Drama Business (EXCLUSIVE)

The producer behind series including “Rake” and “Jack Irish” and the movie “Saving Mr. Banks” is launching Essential Scripted, a new high-end TV and film production business.

International Emmy Award-winning producer Michelle Hardy has joined the team. A first-look deal has also been set with Hardy White Pictures, the Australian drama indie that is a partnership between Hardy, and director Erin White, whose credits include the ABC Australia comedy series “Sando.”

The new division will be part of Essential Media, which is owned by acquisitive film and TV production and distribution group Kew Media.

Essential sold its drama catalog to FremantleMedia last September in a move that saw one of its co-founders, Ian Collie, exit and start FremantleMedia-backed drama shingle Easy Tiger. Based in Sydney and L.A., Essential is now getting back into creating drama with the launch of the new scripted unit.

Essential is run by CEO Chris Hilton and chief content officer Greg Quail. They will oversee Essential Scripted with Hardy as VP, Australia, and Simonne Overend her counterpart in the U.S.

“We’re relishing the prospect of our return to drama production in Australia and the USA at a time when the opportunities have never been greater,” said Hilton (pictured). “We have an exciting new slate and with the support of our new partners at Kew we’re looking forward to bringing more premium scripted content to audiences around the world”. 

Essential has an international track record in drama. Its legal drama “Rake” was remade for Fox in the U.S. with Greg Kinnear, while series such as Guy Pearce-starrer “Jack Irish” play on the Acorn streaming service.

More TV

  • THE BLACKLIST -- "Katarina Rostova (#3)"

    ‘The Blacklist’ Bosses on Delivering the 'Really Intense Family Drama That We've Been Promising for Seven Years'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Katarina Rostova,” the midseason seventh season finale of “The Blacklist.” Since “The Blacklist” began it has been building towards a confrontation between Agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) and her biological mother, Katarina Rostova (Laila Robbins). That promised confrontation was front-and-center in the seventh season [...]

  • REEF BREAK - "Pilot" - When

    'Reef Break' Canceled After One Season at ABC

    “Reef Break” will not be back for a second season at ABC. The series debuted back in June on the broadcaster and aired 13 episodes, with the finale airing on Sept. 13. It starred Poppy Montgomery as Cat Chambers, Ray Stevenson as Jake Elliot, Desmond Chiam as Wyatt Cole, Melissa Bonne as Ana Dumont and [...]

  • Jeff Shell

    Jeff Shell: Who Is the NBCUniversal Heir Apparent?

    Analytical, decisive, loyal, fair, empowering. Those are just a few of the choice words industry insiders who have worked with incoming NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell — set to succeed current chief exec Steve Burke, as Variety exclusively reported — use to describe the longtime media exec.  On Universal’s North Hollywood lot, many insiders who work [...]

  • Reese Witherspoon Kerry Washington Little Fires

    TV News Roundup: Hulu Reveals 'Little Fires Everywhere' Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, Hulu announces a premiere date for “Little Fires Everywhere” and Variety exclusively obtains a first look at this year’s Christmas episode of “The Simpsons.” DATES “Little Fires Everywhere” will debut March 18, Hulu announced. Produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street, and ABC Signature Studios, the show [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content