CANNES — Marco Frazier, former AMC Networks SVP of international distribution for digital & new platforms, has joined U.K.-based entertainment company Pantomimus Media as head of corporate development
Frazier will work directly with Pantomimus managing director Roberto Ricci to expand epic fantasy drama “The Red Harlequin” franchise across multiple platforms worldwide.
Doing so, he will leverage his over 20 years experience, contacts and insight spearheading the global distribution and business development – whether new channel or advanced services launches – for key international operators such as AMC and ESPN.
“I am delighted to work alongside Roberto, a true visionary and the creative talent behind ‘The Red Harlequin,’ said Frazier. “I have been deeply impressed by how he and his team have brought this unique series to life and look forward to bringing it to viewers around the world.”
Ricci added: “I have known Marco for over twenty years and have always been impressed by his professionalism and long-standing TV industry expertise. His wealth of experience in content distribution across traditional and new platforms comes at a great time for ‘The Red Harlequin.’”
Backed by top Finnish media fund IPR, and adapting Ricci’s own young adult fantasy novel series of the same title, is being developed for TV with Rick Porras, co-producer of “The Lord of the Rings,” and showrunner Robert Butler, co-creator of the BBC/DHX “Creeped Out” anthology series).
Founded by Ricci and well-known industry executive Lisa Hryniewicz, Pantomimus is looking to retain rights to IP in select territory, via the creation of a international co-production with a company which would also produce the series.
That arrangement of a “much more regional and country-by -country, and also platform-by-platform” distribution, as Ricci puts it, makes Frazier’s expertise in international distribution highly valuable, he added.
Frazier was the first senior AMC executive to be based outside of the U.S, and was also part of the original management team for ESPN in EMEA following the broadcaster’s sale of its Eurosport holding.
He has worked extensively with SVOD services and maintains strong relationships with digital media platforms and virtual MVPDs such as Amazon and YouTube TV, in the U.S. and internationally, according to a Pantomimus press statement.
Ricci, Porras and Butler have defined the story arcs of the eight-episode series, and a script for a first episode is written.
“Because of the reason of the production partnership that we intend, we wanted to keep it open also for the other partner to have its say on creative,” Ricci told Variety.
Set in an alternate ancient world divided up into six disparate Chrome nations, where citizens must wear masks bearing the color of their homeland, “The Red Harlequin” is advancing towards production as, in a highly competitive market, broadcasters and platforms are not so much increasing the volume of original productions as scale on key titles.
“Based on the discussions that we are having with potential partners, we are certainly very much benefiting from the increase in signature original series, of networks, platforms, companies, that for whatever reason, feel that they need to have a few signature series to go to market with,” said Frazier.
He added: “‘The Red Harlequin’ very much ticks all those boxes about what you were mentioning, it’s a tent-pole event or a signature type series.”
“‘The Red Harlequin’ is also being developed as a transmedia concept across publishing, games and music.
“I think that companies appreciate the fact that there is a story in place, we are adapting books, the actual story, the characters, the narrative, it’s all there,” said Ricci. “Also, that in this very competitive market. we bring some entrepreneurial flair, in the strategy in distribution and how we approach the market,” he added.