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‘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.

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