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Fremantle Sells Key Territories on ITV and Hulu Drama Series ‘The Sister’

The Sister
ITV

ITV and Hulu drama “The Sister,” an adaptation of Neil Cross’ bestselling novel “Burial,” has sold around the world following a successful terrestrial run in the U.K.

The series, led by captivating “Years and Years” star Russell Tovey, has sold into 75 global territories, including HBO for Spain and Portugal, Pickbox for Eastern Europe, RTE for Ireland, new SVOD service Salto for France, Cosmote for Greece, Manoto TV for the Middle East and North Africa, TV2 for Norway, Canal Plus for Poland, Viasat for Russia, SVT for Sweden, Turkcell for Turkey and SBS Australia, among others.

Hulu holds U.S. rights to the series and will launch the show next year, though an exact date is still unknown.

Produced by Fremantle-backed banner Euston Films, “The Sister” was commissioned by ITV and is distributed internationally by Fremantle. It was commissioned for the U.K. broadcaster by head of drama Polly Hill.

Variety can reveal that the show, which aired during the Halloween period, from Oct. 26-29, drew a consolidated audience of 5.6 million (including non-TV and repeats). Following seven days of consolidation across linear and on-demand platforms, “The Sister” launch grew to an audience of 6.9 million viewers, averaging 4.9 million (21% audience share), which is up 23% on ITV’s slot average share for total viewers.

The Hulu connection made sense for Euston given the Disney-owned U.S. streamer previously picked up “Baghdad Central” and “Hard Sun,” which was also written by Cross.

The SVOD again boarded as a partner on “The Sister,” ensuring the Hulu Original label, towards the end of post production, all of which took place during the U.K.’s first lockdown in the spring and summer. “They were in contact right from the very beginning of reading the first script,” says Euston Films boss Kate Harwood. “They’ve been very supportive.”

Adapted from his own bestselling novel “Burial,” by Royal Television Society award winner Neil Cross (“Luther”), “The Sister” follows a happily married family man whose life is rocked to the core when an unwelcome face from the past turns up on his doorstep with shocking news, triggering a series of catastrophic decisions.

The series is directed by BAFTA winner Niall MacCormick (“Complicit”) and the cast includes Russell Tovey (“Years and Years”), Bertie Carvel (“Baghdad Central”), Amrita Acharia (“The Good Karma Hospital”) and Nina Toussaint-White (“Bodyguard”).

The program’s commercial success overseas, and particularly Hulu’s involvement, could signal a renewed interested in limited series. “I think the question with [the U.S.] is, ‘Are they taking our miniseries again? Are they taking our short-form, one-story [shows] and not with 99 seasons attached?’ And the answer is yes. Sometimes, people these days just want a quick hit,” says Harwood.

“It wasn’t natural at somewhere like Hulu a few years ago, but they seem to be embracing it now,” adds the executive.

“Euston Films have created another incredible series with Neil Cross and the impressive ratings show how their unique partnership and approach to storytelling has been a hit with U.K. audiences,” adds Andrea Scrosati, group chief operating officer for Fremantle.

“We work with the best talent to present bold, original stories that resonate globally. This is just one of the fantastic scripted shows coming out of the U.K. this year that we are proud to have as part of our growing drama slate.”

Executive producers include Harwood (“Hard Sun”), Noemi Spanos (“Dublin Murders”), and Neil Cross. The series is produced by Jonathan Curling (“Tin Star”).