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Endemol Shine Builds ‘The Bridge’ in Africa (EXCLUSIVE)

DURBAN–Endemol Shine Group has sold the rights to adapt its critically acclaimed and highly popular Nordic Noir detective series “The Bridge” to Cape Town-based production company Both Worlds Pictures, Variety has learned exclusively.

The series will feature an all-African cast and will be set around the Beit Bridge border crossing between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Originally known in Sweden and Denmark as “Bron/Broen,” the format is a present-day crime thriller exploring the tensions between two neighboring countries and delving into the darker side of human nature. The series was created by Sweden’s Filmlance International, part of Endemol Shine Group, and Denmark’s Nimbus Film. The fourth and final season of the original, which aired in Sweden and Denmark last year, was the number one drama in Scandinavia. It also served, with “The Killing,” to put Nordic Noir on the map, and boost the careers of its producer Lars Blomgren and major writers such as Mans Marlind, Hans Rosenfeldt and Bjorn Stein.

The African adaptation of the show would mark the seventh local version of “The Bridge,” which has so far been remade in Malaysia/Singapore, Germany/Austria, Croatia/Serbia, U.S./Mexico, UK/France and Russia/Estonia.

Blomgren, executive producer on the “The Bridge” and Endemol Shine Group’s head of scripted for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, said: “Thierry and the team at Both Worlds have such a huge enthusiasm for our beloved series, and we couldn’t think of anyone better to create the first African saga. It’s been a joy to watch the various iterations of the format develop around the world and we can’t wait to see the direction they take this one in.”

Cape Town-based production company Both Worlds is known for award-winning programs such as the International Emmy-nominated news satire “ZANEWS’ Puppet Nation,” and the hit comedy format “Point of Order.” The company recently launched a high-end scripted content division under the supervision of award-winning South African screenwriter Karen Jeynes, and has several TV series in advanced stage of development with local and international broadcasters.

“We are thrilled to adapt the award-winning series ‘The Bridge’ for South Africa and the continent,” said Thierry Cassuto, founder and executive producer at Both Worlds Pictures. “I’ve always been a great fan of the series and admired how sensitively remakes were made in parts of the world that are so culturally different. It shows how the story and the characters are able to strike a universal chord, and we intend to create an adaptation that will be equally unique and will resonate with African viewers.”

CREDIT: Both Worlds Pictures / Endemol Shine Group

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