In today’s Global Bulletin, The Apartment and Castlefield team on “Death at SeaWorld” series adaptation, Series Mania opens the call for series and projects, MTV U.K. commissions “Celebs on the Farm,” Love Nature announces streaming plans for “Nature of the Beast,” and ViacomCBS Networks Intl. promotes long-time exec Wincie Knight.
Fremantle companies The Apartment (“The Young Pope”) and recently launched Castlefield have scooped the rights to David Kirby’s popular book “Death at SeaWorld,” and will produce a 10-part series headed by showrunner Simon Allen (“Das Boot,” “The Watch”).
The Apartment’s Lorenzo Mieli will produce along with Hilary Martin and Simon Judd for Castlefield, with shooting planned for late 2021. The book and series draw on investigations done ahead of the 2013 BAFTA-nominated documentary “Blackfish,” and the real-life story of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by a captive killer whale during a performance.
“‘Death at SeaWorld’ will not only be a searingly relevant prestige television event but also an inspiring rallying call to protect the beauty and wonder of our troubled planet,” said Mieli. “I am thrilled to be bringing the remarkable untold chapters of this story to life with such a talented and committed team.”
“David’s groundbreaking book and Simon’s breathtaking take on the material have sparked to create an irresistible drama that is at once both emotionally intimate and globally resonant,” added Martin and Judd.
Series Mania founder and general director Laurence Herszberg has issued an open call for series and TV projects for next year’s hopefully in-person festival and industry get-together.
Scheduled March 19-27, with the Series Mania Forum industry event running March 23-25, Series Mania will also expand Series Mania Digital, an online experience launched when this year’s on site event was cancelled after COVID-19 began spreading across Europe. Further details on the expanded offerings will be announced soon.
Sixty series will be selected to comprise the official Series Mania program, with 11 prizes on the line. At the Forum, 16 projects will be invited to pitch during the Series Mania Co-Pro Pitching Sessions, where the jury’s favorite project will receive a €50,000 ($58,820) prize.
MTV U.K. has commissioned a new series of the popular unscripted format “Celebs on the Farm,” its first commission under Ben Frow since his promotion to director of programs at ViacomCBS U.K.
Originally a hit on Viacom’s digital network 5Star, the series will head to MTV U.K. with its popular host Stephen Bailey back on board as well as previous producers GooWooMedia.
New celebs will face similar experiences to those of their predecessors as they trade couture for Carhartt to compete in a series of challenges intended to test their aptitude for agricultural activities on a real working farm in the Yorkshire Dales.
At the U.K.’s Wildscreen Festival, family wildlife and nature brand Love Nature announced its original series “Nature of the Beast” will stream across the company’s digital platforms this fall.
In the series, celebrated filmmaker Julian “Julz” Braatvedt introduces viewers to animals in their natural habitats across three episodes and will host an interactive fourth episode on Love Nature’s social media platforms. Additionally, as episodes are launched on a weekly basis, Braatvedt will join in Instagram Live sessions to discuss behind the scenes details.
“Launching the series on digital platforms allows me to connect directly with viewers to share new perspectives on wildlife and support solutions that will have a lasting impact on wildlife habitats and the entire global ecosystem,” Braatvedt explained in a release.
Long-time Viacom veteran Wincie Knight has been promoted to VP of global inclusion strategy, ViacomCBS Networks Intl. (VCNI).
Having spearheaded Viacom U.K.’s first Inclusion Week in 2018, Knight will continue working on VCNI’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse culture. She will oversee the implementation and development of plans to grow diversity across all of VCNI and promote inclusive business behaviors at all levels of the company in the U.K., Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Knight will work out of the company’s London offices, reporting to Marva Smalls, executive VP of global inclusion and executive VP, public affairs, kids and family entertainment brands, and Maria Kyriacou, president of VCN U.K., Australia and Israel.
Knight has previously been honored as a 2020 British LGBT+ Awards Top 10 Corporate Ally and a BAME Workplace Hero by the Investing in Ethnicity Awards in 2018.