Italy’s Mediaset and Lucisano Media Group have teamed up with France’s Federation Entertainment on a TV series for the international market titled “Sienna,” centering on a multi-billion-dollar banking scandal that rocked the world oldest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena.
The skein, which combines financial thriller and historical saga elements, is a further indication of a shift at Mediaset, Italy’s top commercial network, towards commissioning TV dramas that aspire to travel. The linear broadcaster has recently announced another drama series with international ambitions, “Don Masino,” about Cosa Nostra’s first high-ranking turncoat. The company also pacted with Netflix last week on a slate of Italian movies that the streaming giant will play around the world.
Federation Entertainment, a leading player in international drama and kids’ entertainment and the company behind Netflix’s first French original series, “Marseille,” has been developing close ties with Italy lately. Last year it acquired a 51% stake in Rome-based Fabula Pictures, which made Netflix’s second Italian original production, “Baby.”
At Mipcom, Federation is selling Mediaset’s show about the Milan fashion world, “Made in Italy.”
“Sienna” is set in the medieval city of Siena, in Tuscany. The show’s title refers to the yellow-brown pigment called sienna that was produced in the city during the Renaissance.
The Italian-language show will depict a “vortex of power and money that flows convulsively in a province that is only apparently frozen in time, history, and the traditions of a city known for its timeless art,” said a statement provided by Lucisano Media Group.
But the truth is that Siena is an integral part of today’s world of finance “that moves at a breakneck pace and without any rules,” it noted.
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) was founded more than 600 years ago in 1472. It was Italy’s third-largest bank in 2013 when it was rocked by a series of scandals that included a €730 million ($804 million) loss caused by purchases of toxic derivatives and other dodgy dealings with several international banks. The scandal caused billions in losses after costumers pulled out their deposits.
Italian investigative journalist Lirio Abbate and writers Giacomo Durzi (“Baby”), Tommaso Matano (“Curon”) and Salvatore Basile have penned the “Sienna” screenplay. Lucisano and Federation will work closely with Mediaset head of drama Daniele Cesarano, who is considered the main driver behind the network’s more international mindset.
Lucisano Media Group is among Italy’s oldest producers of film and TV genre content. It previously pacted with Federation Entertainment to develop a TV series based on U.S. author Glenn Cooper’s ”Library of the Dead” trilogy of thrillers.