Sky Studios has signed a funding and first-look distribution deal with Merman TV, the company founded by “Catastrophe” writer Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford. The two-year agreement covers overhead and development funding for Merman, which has won three BAFTA television awards.
Sky Studios is pay-TV broadcaster Sky’s new dedicated production arm, which is being ramped up to give Sky a stronger foothold in developing and making original shows. “When we launched Sky Studios we said we wanted to work with Europe’s top creatives, and that’s exactly what Sharon and Clelia are,” said Sky Studios CEO Gary Davey. “Together, they have a unique ability to take a sideways look at the ordinary and make it outrageously funny while making you care deeply about their characters along the way.”
Sky and Merman have already worked together on “Frayed,” a co-production with ABC in Australia. Under the new deal, Merman is expected to expand its scripted team in the U.K. to develop dramas and comedies. Sky’s Comcast stablemate, NBCUniversal Global Distribution, will handle international sales for any co-developed projects.
“We’re delighted to be given the opportunity to take our great relationship with Sky Studios to the next level, as they help us to share our stories worldwide,” Horgan and Mountford said. “This partnership means not only do we get to make even more Merman comedy, but also realize our ambitions in the drama space.”
Merman already has a two-year first-look production deal with Amazon, which the parties signed last year. Amazon bought all seasons of “Catastrophe” for Prime Video in the U.S. That series, which Horgan created with her co-star, Robert Delaney, earned her an Emmy nomination.
Merman’s recent shows include “Divorce” for HBO, “This Way Up” for Channel 4 and Hulu, and the parenthood comedy “Motherland” for the BBC. The company, founded in 2014, also has projects in development for U.S. outlets, such as “Shining Vale” for Starz, “Therapy Dog” for Fox and “Guru” for Amazon.”
As part of its new focus on production, Sky announced Tuesday that it intends to build a new studio in Elstree, outside London. The plans call for a 14-stage facility on 32 acres.