In today’s Global Bulletin, ViacomCBS licenses “The Stand” globally, Jonty Claypole steps down as BBC director of arts, Compact Pictures divides its production business, Saloon Media joins BriteSpark East on “World’s Most Scenic River Journeys” and Leonine Studios hires Patrick Phelan as the company’s new director of world sales.
ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group has licensed the nine-episode series adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Stand” in more than 100 markets globally. Key deals include Starzplay for much of Europe, HBO Nordic, HBO Portugal, M-NET in Africa, Cosmote TV in Greece, Síminn in Iceland, Wavve and Tcast Co., Ltd in Korea, Amediateka in Russia, Israel’s Yes and Voot Select in India.
“The Stand” unspools in a post-apocalyptic version of a world torn asunder by plague and a mystic fight between good and evil. Its high profile cast includes Alexander Skarsgård, Whoopi Goldberg, James Marsden and Odessa Young.
Produced by CBS Studios for CBS All Access in the U.S., where it will premiere Dec. 17, the series is showrun by Benjamin Cavell, who executive produced with Taylor Elmore, Will Weiske, Jimmy Miller, Roy Lee and Richard P. Rubinstein. Josh Boone (“The Fault in Our Stars”) directed and executive produced the series’ first and final episodes.
BBC director of arts Jonty Claypole has announced he will step down in April of next year, having filled the role since 2014.
Over the past seven years, Jonty was responsible for creating a new arts strategy while leading the TV arts commissioning team and working with colleagues from across the BBC’s businesses, including radio and digital. In that time, he also consolidated many of the BBC’s functions and services into a single department, BBC Arts. He also created BBC Arts Online, which contributes to broadcast output and the wider sector.
Jonty will continue as chair of the board of trustees at Home, Manchester, and his first book, “Words Fail Us,” a cultural history of speech disorders, will be published in 2021.
“It has been an honor to serve as the BBC’s director of arts over the last seven years,” Jonty said in a statement. “I will miss the BBC greatly — because of what it stands for and does, and the people who make that happen — and I will continue to champion the irreplaceable role it plays in the arts and culture of this country wherever I am.”
Scotland’s Compact Pictures, the independent label founded by writer-director John McKay (“Life on Mars,” “We’ll Take Manhattan”) is dividing up its production into two new businesses which will operate under the same parent label. Compact Films will focus on independent feature film production, while Compact Vibe will develop young adult and genre TV content.
Anticipating growth for both businesses, Compact has hired Laura McBride as its first head of development, joining from Synchronicity Films where she worked closely with founder Claire Mundell on productions such as drama series “The Cry” and feature “Only You.”
Working directly with McKay, McBride will get to work on the company’s current development slate, including Tim Courtney’s debut feature “The Empty Space Inside my Heart,” David Harrower’s crime saga “9 Deaths,” CITV’s “My Brother is a Superhero,” and “Chosen,” co-developed with Reel One Entertainment.
Compact has also hired actor and podcast host Misha McCullagh to a development support and communications role for the company’s businesses.
Blue Ant Studio’s Saloon Media has signed on to co-produce “World’s Most Scenic River Journeys” with the Argonon Group’s BriteSpark East. The series was commissioned by Channel 5 in the U.K. and Smithsonian Channel Canada, while Blue Ant International will oversee international licensing of the series.
Taking audiences on explorations of some of the world’s most important and beautiful rivers across Europe and North America, the series will be narrated by Golden Globe winner Bill Nighy (“Love Actually,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”).
Saloon Media will handle production on episodes featuring rivers in North America while BriteSpark East will shoot episodes focused on European rivers, in a move to help alleviate production hold-ups caused by COVID-19.
Leonine Studios has hired Patrick Phelan as the company’s new director of world sales, reporting to senior vice president of license sales Christiane Goldberg. In the role, Phelan will oversee all international sales activities for Leonine Studios’ licensing unit.
Phelan joined the company from NBCU, where he was director of sales liaison. Before that, he worked as vice president of sales at Sky Vision and Sonar Entertainment. In recent years, he has been responsible for distributing premium content such as Ken Follet’s adaptation of “The Pillars of the Earth,” Tom Hardy’s “Taboo” and HBO’s Emmy-winning series “Chernobyl.”