Sky Studios has taken a minority stake in new drama producer Longboat Pictures, founded by “Bridgerton” director Julie Anne Robinson and former ITV executive Victoria Fea.
The outfit was founded in 2019 by Los Angeles-based director-producer Robinson and ex-ITV commissioner Fea. The deal marks the latest investment for Sky Studios, which recently took a minority stake in “Luther” producer Hilary Salmon’s new outfit The Lighthouse, and previously invested in Wendy Darke’s natural history outfit True to Nature.
Under the deal, Sky Studios’ investment will allow Longboat to accelerate growth and expand its creative team. The production outfit will work with Sky Studios to develop content for distribution on the Sky platforms, as well as other networks.
Robinson previously directed both theater and award-winning TV shows in the U.K. (“Blackpool,” “Coming Down the Mountain”), before moving to Los Angeles, where her directing credits include “The Good Place,” “Orange is the New Black” and “Grace & Frankie.” She has also directed 13 network pilots and brought seven series to air, in addition to directing studio features and, most recently, “Bridgerton” for Shondaland and Netflix.
Meanwhile, Fea was a senior drama commissioner for eight years at U.K. commercial broadcaster ITV, where she commissioned “The Durrells,” “Marcella,” “Victoria,” “Harlots” and “Unforgotten,” as well as serials “A Confession,” “Manhunt,” “Innocent” and “Little Boy Blue.” Prior to joining ITV, Fea was an executive producer, producer and script editor in the indie sector, for outfits including World Productions and Wall to Wall, as well as the BBC.
Overall, Sky Studios has equity stakes in nine production companies in the U.K. and the U.S., including “Great British Bake-Off” creator Love Productions and reality crime producer Jupiter Entertainment. Launched in 2019, the studio develops, produces and funds original drama, comedy and documentary and has around 52 scripted shows in production.
Forthcoming shows include “The Third Day” with Jude Law; “ZeroZeroZero,” from the makers of “Gomorrah;” and “The New Pope,” directed by Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino.
Gary Davey, CEO of Sky Studios, said: “Longboat Pictures has a wealth of expertise and experience in the drama field, both in the U.K. and U.S. We’re excited to be joining forces with them in this new partnership and bringing viewers world-class, engaging shows.”
Cameron Roach, Sky’s director of drama, added: “Victoria and Julie Anne are incredibly well respected program makers internationally and have exceptional writer relationships. Their editorial sensibility and their ambition to evolve ambitious, entertaining scripted shows, chimes very much with our outlook at Sky Studios.”
Robinson and Fea said: “We are very happy to be collaborating with Sky Studios at such an exciting time in their development. The world needs entertaining stories more than ever at the moment, and we are looking forward to creating them in our new partnership.”