In today’s Global Bulletin, Amazon commits €1 million ($1.18 million) in Italian COVID-19 aid, Fremantle’s Naked hires Natalie Rose, Jay Blades launches Hungry Jay Media and Amazon Prime Video drops a trailer for its first Spanish scripted Original “El Cid.”
Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Studios have announced a €1 million ($1.18 million) commitment to support the Italian entertainment industry through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donation is being made to the emergency COVID-19 fund, Scena Unita, created by a group of Italian artists and celebrities — including popstar Fedez, comedian Carlo Verdone, rapper Achille Lauro, actor Sabrina Ferilli, and singer Gianna Nannini — with the support of Amazon Prime Video as a main donor. The fund is open to further donations from other companies.
“The COVID-19 crisis has affected workers in the entertainment industry in Italy and across Europe,” said Georgia Brown, director of European Amazon Originals for Prime Video in a statement. “This is a difficult, challenging time and we are aware of the hardship many people are going through. As we gear up for production restarting on a number of Amazon Original series in Italy and across Europe in the coming months, we’re committed to continuing to support the creative community through this crisis.”
Amazon’s initiative follows a similar relief effort from Netflix towards Italy’s industry, announced in April for the same amount.
Amazon Studios’ Italian originals include the local-language version of “Celebrity Hunted” and documentary “Ferro” about popstar Tiziano Ferro. Amazon Studios has also announced several upcoming scripted series, including “Bang Bang Baby,” a mob drama with a female lead, “Vita da Carlo,” starring the hugely popular Carlo Verdone, and diamonds’ heist skein “Everybody Loves Diamonds.”
U.K.-U.S. factual production shingle Naked, fully acquired by Fremantle in February of this year, has hired Natalie Rose as its new head of features, set to join the company in January 2021.
In her previous role as commissioning editor for factual at UKTV, Rose’s credits included “Stacey Dooley Sleep Over” for W, “Big Zuu’s Big Eats” for Dave and “Warbird Workshop” for Yesterday. Before joining UKTV, she produced several of Channel 4’s flagship series such as “Gogglebox,” “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here,” “Big Brother,” “The Voice” and “The X-Factor.”
In 2015 Fremantle acquired a minority stake in Naked, a new startup at the time, and earlier this year announced 100% ownership of the company and the recruitment of Simon Andreae as CEO. Channel 4 commissioner Fatima Salaria joined the outfit as managing director over the summer.
Popular U.K. presenter Jay Blades has launched Hungry Jay Media, a new independent TV production company in partnership with Dan Baldwin and Juliet Denison Gay’s Hungry Bear Media.
At the company, Blades will develop a range of TV formats which will feature the presenter on both sides of the camera. Recent on-screen credits include his hit primetime series “The Repair Shop” as well as regular appearances on “Money For Nothing.”
Having only founded Hungry Bear Media in 2014, Baldwin and Denison Gay have already backed several breakout British series including “Michael McIntyre’s Big Show,” “All Round to Mrs Brown’s” and “Judge Romesh,” among others.
Amazon Prime Video in Spain has released a trailer for its first scripted drama series in the country, “El Cid,” starring “Money Heist’s” Jaime Lorente. The series will premiere for the platform worldwide on Dec. 18.
“El Cid” is a dramatic retelling of the story of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, A.K.A. El Cid, an 11th century Castilian nobleman and legendary war hero who remains a talisman of Spanish folklore to this day. The series follows his journey as he tries to find his place within a complex monarchy that struggles to control him.
Prolific Spanish film and TV producer José Velasco created and wrote the series, his first in that capacity, and produced via his company Zebra Producciones. Gustavo Santaolalla, Oscar winner for “Brokeback Mountain” and “Babel,” composes.