International TV Newswire: Animal Planet Changes, Beta Sells, All3Media Hires, Netflix Updates

The Stranger
Red Production Company

In this week’s International TV Newswire, longtime Discovery executive Susanne Dinnage leaves the company as the Animal Planet Network shifts to the company’s factual division, Beta Film clinches a milestone sale on “The Pleasure Principle,” and All3Media finds the right Job for its newest non-scripted position. Also making news, new North American SVOD Topic picks up a raft of Australian content and Netflix shares photos of “The Stranger,” and announces key cast for “Los Favoritas de Midas.”

Susanne Dinnage to Leave Discovery, Animal Planet Moved to Factual Division

Susanna Dinnage, Discovery’s global president of Animal Planet since 2017, will leave the company as part of a restructuring which sees Animal Planet moved to Discovery’s factual division, managed by chief brand officer Nancy Daniels, who currently runs Discovery Channel and Science Channel.

Under her guidance, Animal Planet was rebranded and became Discovery’s first network to be managed globally. Under Dinnage, series such as “Crikey! It’s the Irwins” and “Pit Bulls and Parolees” became worldwide hits.

Last November, Dinnage was named as Richard Scudamore’s replacement as chief executive of the English Premier League, before shocking the soccer world by withdrawing only a month later. In 2017, she was a finalist in the search for a new chief executive at U.K. network Channel 4.

“I have had an incredible decade at Discovery and been privileged to be part of such a purpose-driven, and truly global, company,” she said in a statement released by Discovery. “As the world looks ever more closely at conservation, the past two years at Animal Plant have been particularly rewarding. It’s a very exciting time to be in the world of media and content and I look forward to the future.”

Beta Film Proves Allure of High-End Eastern Europe TV with ‘The Pleasure Principle’

What growth areas are left in Europe? One answer, Beta Film head Jan Mojto has suggested, is Eastern Europe. This week he closed a major territory deal which lends weight to his argument, pacting with German public broadcaster ZDF for “The Pleasure Principle” to be aired on Franco-German channel Arte in 2020.

The deal wasn’t made on any old show, but rather high-end crime series “The Pleasure Principle,” the first grand scale international television co-production between Central and Eastern European countries, Beta argues, being produced by high-profile Polish outfit Apple Film Production in co-production with Canal Plus Poland, Czech TV and the Ukraine’s Star Media.

Directed by Dariusz Jablonski (“Photographer”), ”The Pleasure Principle” kicks off with parts of young women’s bodies being found in the three different locations within a day of one another. Police criminal investigators from the Ukraine, Poland and Czech Republic partner in a cross-border investigation. That’s classic noir. But “The Pleasure Principle’s been shot in still pretty virgin territory for high-end series, such as the rustic Black Sea coast around Odessa. More farflung series look likely to follow.

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Bartosz Mrozowski/Beta Film

All3Media Creates New Job Position in Non-Scripted

All3Media has appointed Rachel Job as the company’s first SVP of non-scripted content, a position created by the independent distributor to continue its expansion into non-scripted. Job will be based in London and head a team which will report to All3Media EVP of content Maartje Horchner. She spent a decade at A+E Networks U.K., and as director of programming Job commissioned History’s top five highest rated U.K. originals including “Waterloo” and “Mud Men.” Most recently, Job headed her own consulting firm Pace TV, where she focuses specifically on non-scripted content. All3Media’s current non-scripted catalog includes programming such as “Gogglebox” and “Undercover Boss.”

Topic SVOD Platform Announces Aussie Additions for Nov. 21 Launch

Sydney-based ABC Commercial has closed a distribution agreement with North American SVOD service Topic, which will make available a collection of the Australian network’s comedy and documentary titles to U.S. and Canadian audiences. Included in the package are series such as Hannah Gadsby’s “Nakedy Nudes” and “Oz,” critically-acclaimed six-part comedy series “F**cking Adelaide,” short-format series “Goober” and documentary “Artful Dissident,” about Chinese-Australian political artists Badiucao whose work is cheered by many but condemned by Chinese authorities. Topic, the studio-turned-SVOD platform from Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media, launches Nov. 21, with all included ABC content available to stream from day one as part of its carefully curated catalog.

New Photos of Netflix Thriller “The Stranger”

Netflix is offering a sneak peek at its upcoming thriller “The Stranger,” starring Richard Armitage (“The Hobbit”) and based on the best-selling novels of Harlan Coben. The eight-part series follows Adam Price, a man whose life is thrown into disarray when one of his wife’s secrets is uncovered, introducing him to a dangerous world of conspiracy. Studiocanal’s Red Production Company, which produced another Coben adaptation “Safe,” will produce the series written by Coben himself and Danny Brocklehurst. Included in the photos are actors Armitage, Jennifer Saunders, Hannah John-Kamen, Siobhan Finneran and Kadiff Kirwan. “The Stranger” will be available to stream in 2020.

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Red Production Company

Luis Tosar to Star in Mateo Gil’s Netflix Original ‘Los Favoritas de Midas’

Netflix has announced that three-time Spanish Academy Goya Award winning actor Luis Tosar (“Celda 211,” “Take My Eyes”) will star in the upcoming Netflix Original “Los Favoritas de Midas.” Set to begin filming in Madrid on Nov. 4, the six-part miniseries comes from writer Mateo Gil, a four-time Goya Award-winner and frequent early co-writer of Alejandro Amenábar (“The Sea Inside,” “Open Your Eyes”). Joining Tosar are popular Spanish actors Marta Belmonte (“Isabel”), Guillermo “Willy” Toledo (“The Perfect Crime”) Carlos Blanco (“Volver”) and Bea Segura (“Hierro”). The series is produced by Barcelona-based Nostromo Pictures (“Paradise Hills”) with Gil directing alongside Oskar Santos (“Hierro,” “El Ministerio del Tiempo”). It will launch on the platform in 2020.