In Variety’s fourth Mipcom roundup, E4 buys U.K. linear rights to “Star Trek: Discovery,” All3Media sells drama package to Pickbox Now, African broadcasters buy 800 hours of content from BBC Studios, France’s Serieclub acquires offbeat Norwegian comedy, ZDF and Red Balloon team for young adult book adaptation, and Viacom and Youku partner on kids’ animation.
The U.K.’s E4 has acquired the linear television rights to “Star Trek: Discovery” from CBS Studios International. “Star Trek: Discovery,” which has aired on Netflix in the U.K. since its launch in 2017, will air on the youth-skewing channel E4 in 2020. E4 has also picked up new CBS comedy “Man With a Plan” starring Matt LeBlanc from CBS. Barry Chamberlain, president of sales at CBS Studios International, said: “Channel 4 is already a licensee for several of our top-rated franchises, including ‘The Good Fight’ and ‘Charmed,’ and we are confident they will have continued success with “Star Trek: Discovery” and ‘Man With a Plan.'”
SVOD Platform Pickbox Now Swoops on All3Media Dramas
Distributor All3Media International has sold more than 25 hours of drama to SVOD platform Pickbox Now, which covers Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Pickbox Now has acquired the first installment of Company Pictures’ psychological thriller “Blood,” which played on Channel 5 in 2018. The deal also features four titles from All3Media’s scripted label Two Brothers Pictures, including “Back to Life,” “Baptiste,” “Strangers” and “Cheat.” Ranka Horvat, acquisition specialist at Pickbox Now, said: “I’m very pleased to work with the All3Media international team on our first drama acquisition.”
African Broadcasters Pick Up More Than 800 Hours of Content from BBC Studios
BBC Studios has licensed more than 800 hours of content to clients across Africa. This includes the first-ever agreement between BBC Studios and the Seychelles Broadcasting Company for more than 150 hours of BBC Studios content to air on SBC1 and SBC2 channels, including dramas “The Durrells” and “Doctor Foster.” In Kenya, BBC Studios sealed its largest package deal to date with Kenyan free-to-air broadcaster MediaMax Network for its K24 and Kameme TV channels, including “Planet Earth II,” “Junior Masterchef” and “MI High.” A mixed-genre package was brokered via Vubiquity for SVOD providers across 22 African markets, including Cell C’s Black, Vodacom, Deod, and MTN. Elsewhere in South Africa, SVOD service Showmax has licensed more than 230 hours of drama, children and factual content. Pay TV channel MNET picked up a music and documentary package, while SABC3 will be taking 18 hours of natural history content.
France’s Serieclub Acquires Offbeat Norwegian Comedy ‘Magnus’
Hat Trick International has sold the offbeat Norwegian comedy drama “Magnus” to M6- and TF1-owned French cult series network Serieclub. Produced by Viafilm, “Magnus” is an NRK sci-fi crime and comedy thriller about an idiotic genius former detective who tries to solve a murder rooted in Norse mythology. Two versions of the six-part series were shot, one in Norwegian and one in English. Serieclub will air a dubbed version of the Norwegian series in the last part of 2019. The English-language version of “Magnus” is being launched at the international market at Mipcom.
ZDF, Red Balloon to Adapt Hit Young Adult Novels ‘Alea Acquarius’
ZDF Enterprises and German production company Red Balloon Film are to jointly develop and produce an adaptation of bestselling German young adult novels “Alea Aquarius“ by the author Tanya Stewner. The deal builds on a recent collaboration between the two companies for young adult series “Heirs of the Night,” which was launched at a World Premiere Screening at MIPJunior this year. “Alea Aquarius” is planned as a 26-epsiode series and feature film and will be shot in English. The book tells the story of the mermaid girl Alea and her friends from the Alpha Cru, who together want to save the oceans and the Earth from destruction. The “Alea Aquarius” books are available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and are due out soon in Italy. The fifth volume, “Alea Aquarius: The Message of the Rain,” was published in Germany on Oct. 7.
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) is collaborating with Alibaba-owned streaming platform Youku to develop and produce an original animated series with the working title “Little Luban.” A memorandum of understanding for a multi-year content development and distribution partnership between the two companies was signed Tuesday at Mipcom. “Little Luban” is targeted at a younger kids’ audience and will feature characters and themes that the production partners said would resonate with viewers around the world, such as friendship and teamwork. Specific elements of Chinese culture and philosophy will be incorporated into both the storyline and the visuals. Viacom International Studios (VIS) will work on the series.