In this week’s International TV Newswire, “Hierro” breaks records in Spain, Sky readies fora diabolic Mipcom, NENT realigns, reflecting new market realities, Buena Vista drills down on gender crime, DRG, All3Media and EndemolShine strike production or sales deals.
Renewed, “Hierro” Triumphs in Spain
Movistar+, the pay TV unit of Telefonica, Europe’s third biggest telecom, has a hit on its hands. It says much, moreover, about Europe’s still building drama series scene.
This week, “Hierro,” a crime drama first seen at Seriesmania, was renewed for Season 2, and confirmed by Spain’s Movistar as its most-viewed of its first Original Series releases to date, judged over its first 80 days.
The result is a triumph for the series’ creators, Portocabo producer Alfonso Blanco and screenwriter Pepe Coira, plus director Jorge Coira. It also vindicates Movistar+ entry into international co-production, here with upscale French network Arte, Galicia-based Portocabo and the Lagardère Group’s Atlantique Productions, whose credits include “Midnight Sun” and now “Eden.”
Before “Hierro,” Movistar produced 100% its series. After, it has driven ever more into production or co-financing with illustrious players such as Beta Film and Studiocanal.
“Hierro” also suggests something about the parameters of Movistar+ success. Its hit cut two ways: Big banner event series, such as “The Plague,” a thriller set in an rumbustious 1597 Seville, or smaller left-of-field series such as “Madrid on Fire” – black-and-white, period, whose main appeal are their originality. “Hierro” at first glance seems classic Nordic Noir: A serial killer is loose, an odd couple, here a judge and a local drug kingpin, have to track them down. But it brings at least three elements to the table: the murderer is identified; by just of half-way in; it is set on the extraordinary volcanic Atlantic isle of the title; the protagonist, played forcefully by Spain’s Candela Peña, is a 40-plus woman, with no romantic interest whatsoever.
Bar giving large tent full rein, there’s seems these days to be no formula for success. The age of cookie-cutter series is over.
Sky to Premiere “Devils” at Mipcom
Sky Studios will host a world premiere screening of its new thriller “Devils” at October’s Mipcom. Stars Patrick Dempsey, Alessandro Borghi and Kasia Smutniak will also attend the showcase on Mipcom’s opening day, Oct 14. Based on Guido Maria Brera’s best-selling novel, the fiction series is set in the world of global finance and tracks the spectacular rise of Massimo Ruggero, whose sure-fire ascension to Vice-CEO is derailed by a scandal involving his drug-addicted wife and the sudden death of a colleague. The series is produced by Sky Italia and Lux Vide, in association with Orange Studio, funded by Sky Studios and distributed internationally by NBCUniversal Global Distribution.
Buena Vista Original Productions Confirms ‘Femicidios’
Following on hits “Until I Met You,” “Selena’s Secret” and “Monzón,” Buena Vista Original Productions has unveiled its latest and mist ambitious title to date: “Femicidios.” A pan-Latin American project, “Femicidios” will be produced by BTF Media – which partnered on “Selena’s Secret” – Argentina’s Pol-ka, Colombia’s Vista Producciones and Brazil’s Cinefilm, each production house re-creating 10 cases of true-life gender crime in their country, told from the POV of the victim, taking in the intervention of the local justice system, and finally allowing the protagonist a voice. Gender abuse already lay at the heart of “Monzon,” a true crime drama, not bioseries, turning on the Argentina boxing legend. At Conecta Fiction, Leonardo Aranguibel, Disney Latin America’s head of general entertainment productions, insisted Disney had a moral duty to make the gender abuse themed series. It is now driving deeper.
NENT Shakes Things Up
Swedish-based Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) will reorganize its senior management team starting Oct 1. The company, which includes Nordic streaming platform Viaplay and broadcast networks such as TV3 and Viasat among its 32 companies in 17 countries, will split its production company NENT studios into three distinct businesses covering Nordic regions, central and eastern Europe, U.K. and the U.S. The new structure, which halves the company’s team of 15 executive managers to eight, will allow the company to expedite decision-making, simplify areas of responsibility and ensure better strategic alignment across its businesses while allowing for the creation of regional hubs to grow and develop in-house talent. Anders Jensen will head the restructuring and continue in his role as president and CEO.
DRG Content Strikes Deals with U.S. Network, Streamers
DRG, one of NENT’s on-the-ground content companies specializing in development, financing, production and distribution out of London, has entered into a new partnership with LA-based network Cinémoi. The broadcaster has picked up four series from DRG, “Underbelly” and “Underbelly Files” films totaling 48 hours of content. A true-life crime series, “Underbelly: Squizzy,” the sixth and final season of the Australian series focusing on the life and career of notorious Melbourne gangster Squizzy Taylor, will premiere on the network Sept 18. DRG SVP Scott Kirkpatrick also struck stateside deals with doc streamer CuriosityStream on “How to Go Viral,” “Chocolate Perfection with Michel Roux,” “Witches – A Century of Murder,” “101 Events that Made the 20th Century” and “Dynasties: Families that hanged the World.”
All3Media Signs Holly Carter’s Relevé Entertainment
All3Media America announced on Wednesday that the company has entered into a multi-year partnership with Dr Holly Carter’s Beverly Hills-based Relevé Entertainment. The two companies will collaborate on original signature content and grow Relevé’s international reach in terms of production and distribution. Now the 11th member of the All3Media America group, Relevé joins Lime Pictures, Lion Television, Main Event Media, Maverick TV USA, Nexiko, Objective Media Group USA, Optomen Productions, Studio Lambert, Gordon Ramsay’s Studio Ramsay and Woodman Park Productions. Relevé will continue to develop scripted and unscripted content tapping into the worlds of music, community and family, having found past success with series such as “Love & Listings” for VH-1 and “The Next Big Thing” on BET.
Endemol Shine Serves “Family Food Fight” to Nine Markets
Following first series deals with Sky Italia and SBT and Amazon Prime Video in Brazil, Endemol Shine has now sold “Family Food Fight” to nine territories. The series, in which families share generations-old recipes, will air six original episodes in primetime on Sky Italia, while in Brazil all 10 episodes, produced with Abrava Produções, will broadcast on SBT and stream through Amazon Prime Video. Originally created by Endemol Shine Australia, the series was developed along with Channel Nine, and has successfully aired in the U.S., Mexico, Switzerland, Portugal, Argentina and Denmark. Endemol Shine will highlight the series at October’s Mipcom.