In today’s Global Bulletin, Amazon Prime Video snags Champions League rights in Italy, Dhanush joins the Russo brothers’ “The Gray Man,” Leigh Tavaziva joins the BBC as COO and “Big Brother Célébrités” finds its broadcaster in French-speaking Canada.
Amazon Prime Video has confirmed Italian reports that it has snapped up rights to exclusively broadcast 16 top UEFA Champions League soccer matches on Wednesday nights, live in Italy, along with the UEFA Super Cup, for three seasons from 2021/22.
The Wednesday night top pick match will always feature an Italian team during the group stages and, where they have qualified, through to the semi-finals, an Amazon statement said.
Prime Video reportedly paid €80 million ($98.8 million) per season to get the UEFA Champion’s League top pick matches on Wednesday evenings for the three seasons, though this has not been confirmed.
“Amazon is looking forward to UEFA Champions League, one of the world’s most prestigious team championships,” said an Amazon spokesperson. “We are delighted to offer our customers in Italy the Wednesday night top matches from 2021 onwards. We know that Italian football fans are among the most passionate in Europe and we’ll be working hard to deliver a fantastic football experience that brings them close to the action.”
The move, which ends Comcast-owned pay-TV operator Sky’s Champion’s League exclusivity in Italy, follows the announcement on Monday of an agreement between Sky and Amazon, under which the Prime Video app has launched on Sky and its SVOD service Now TV across Europe.
Amazon’s foray into soccer in Italy follows similar ones elsewhere in Europe. At the end of 2019, the streamer inked a three-year deal for rights to 16 Champions League matches for Prime Video in Germany. Amazon Prime Video is also in its second year as a domestic broadcast partner of English soccer’s Premier League.
Indian star Dhanush has joined the cast of Anthony Russo and Joe Russo’s Netflix spy thriller “The Gray Man.” Alongside Dhanush, Jessica Henwick, Wagner Moura and Julia Butters will join already announced cast Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, and Ana de Armas.
Dhanush is a huge star of Tamil (“Asuran”) and Hindi-language (“Raanjhanaa”) cinema. He made his international debut with “The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir” (2018).
“Elated to announce that I will be joining the cast of Netflix’s “The Gray Man” starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, directed by The Russo Brothers (“Avengers,” “Captain America: Winter Soldier”),” Dhanush tweeted.
— Dhanush (@dhanushkraja) December 18, 2020
“Looking forward to be a part of this wonderful action packed experience. My sincere thanks to my dearest fans from all over the world for all the support you have been showing me throughout these years.”
The BBC has appointed Leigh Tavaziva as the company’s new group chief operating officer, effective Feb. 1.
As part of the BBC’s executive committee and the BBC Board, Tavaziva will assume responsibility for critical company functions such as design and engineering, finance, legal, commercial rights and business affairs, quality, risk and assurance and procurement. She will report to director-general Tim Davie.
Tavaziva’s previous roles included managing director of customer operations at British Gas and Group Director of Strategy and Transformation at Centrica.
In a statement, Tavaziva expressed excitement about her new role saying: “The BBC plays an incredibly important role at home and abroad. I have huge respect for the organization and look forward to playing my part in ensuring its continued success in a fast-changing world.”
Banijay Rights has closed a deal to launch “Big Brother Célébrités” in French-speaking Canada on Noovo and Noovo.ca. 2020 has seen 23 productions of Big Brother broadcast across 17 markets and a 20th anniversary series of specials in the UK.
From Jan. 10, the new version will pit 15 well-known Quebec personalities from all walks of life in the Big Brother house on Île-Bizard. So far, five participants have been announced including musician Claude Bégin, boxer Jean Pascal, drag queen Rita Baga, influencer Lysandre Nadeau and model Geneviève Borne.
The French-Canadian version of Banijay’s “Celebrity Big Brother” is produced by Entourage Television, in collaboration with Bell Media in Quebec.