BBC documentary strand ‘Storyville’ has picked up U.K. rights to a film on tabloid The National Enquirer from AGC International.
Co-produced by CNN Films, AGC Studios and This is Just a Test, “Scandalous” traces the National Enquirer’s evolution from when it was first founded by Generoso Pope Jr. — who bought racing and sports newspaper New York Enquirer in the 1950s and rebranded the publication as the National Enquirer — to its current status as one of the world’s most sensational tabloid brands.
Directed by Mark Landsman, “Scandalous” explores how Pope Jr. grew the publication into a mass-market tabloid chock full of various scandals, medical oddities and conspiracy theories, celebrity gossip and paparazzi photos. The doc features interviews with former staff and other media observers, who discuss the tabloid’s success, the impact of its segue into partisan politics, and why the National Enquirer began catching and killing stories to protect powerful men and publishing propaganda profiles of foreign despots.
The film was released theatrically in the U.S. by Magnolia, with CNN retaining North American broadcast rights, and AGC International — the distribution arm of Stuart Ford’s two-year-old AGC Studios — overseeing international distribution rights. “Scandalous” will air on ‘Storyville’ on BBC Four later this month.
Mandy Chang, commissioning editor for BBC ‘Storyville,’ said: “Director Mark Landsman brings a witty and insightful approach as he tracks the inside story of the infamous American tabloid — slyly commentating on how the confluence of politics, celebrity dirt, crime and culture fed a nation’s obsessive hunger.”
The film was produced by Aengus James, Colin King Miller, Landsman, Kristen Vaurio, and Jennifer Ash Rudick. Executive producers include Courtney Sexton, VP for CNN Films, and Amy Entelis, executive VP for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, along with Ford and Rachel Traub.
The deal was negotiated by AGC senior VP Callum Grant, Lauren Wilson on behalf of AGC, and the BBC ‘Storyville’ team.
“Scandalous” is the latest partnership between AGC, BBC and CNN, who have also co-financed the forthcoming doc “Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story,” which is directed by Laura Fairrie and produced by John Battsek and Lizzie Gillet of Passion Pictures.
AGC International is handling global distribution rights on “Lady Boss” on behalf of Passion Pictures and will also introduce the film to U.S. domestic and international buyers in the fall upon its completion. Meanwhile, BBC Arts will retain broadcast television rights for BBC Two on terrestrial television, and catch-up VOD rights in the U.K. via BBC iPlayer, while CNN Films will retain broadcast television rights in North America.