“Black Mirror” creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones have departed their Endemol Shine-backed production banner House of Tomorrow amid ongoing talks for an exclusive deal with Netflix, but Variety understands concerns around IP ownership are throwing a spanner in the works.
The pair, who are long-time creative collaborators, resigned earlier last year, but officially stepped down as directors of the label this week. They set up the film and TV-focused House of Tomorrow in 2014 under Endemol Shine, which is currently in the process of being acquired by Banijay Group.
Brooker and Jones have been in talks with the streaming giant since last summer, with discussions still ongoing. Netflix infamously swooped for “Black Mirror” from original U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 in 2015 in a headline-grabbing deal that rocked the local TV landscape.
The platform has so far produced three critically acclaimed seasons of the show under Netflix, as well as interactive special “Bandersnatch.” The rights to “Black Mirror,” however, remain with Endemol Shine – one of the company’s most important pieces of IP.
Variety understands that this IP ownership has been the snag in talks between the creators and Netflix thus far. If Brooker and Jones sign with Netflix independent of their Endemol Shine-backed production company, the streamer would need to effectively buy the rights for themselves. However, the price will be high, given the IP’s heightened value for Endemol Shine against the backdrop of the Banijay merger.
House of Tomorrow was effectively run by Jones and Brooker with a handful of staff, and it is believed that it will be shuttered following their departure.
The duo’s exit comes during an uncertain period for all Endemol Shine-owned production labels, which are to be merged into Marco Bassetti’s sprawling Banijay Group. The mega-merger, which is to create the world’s largest non-U.S. production outfit, is set to close this summer, Variety understands.
Endemol Shine declined comment. Netflix did not respond to requests for comment by press time.