EOne has always cultivated a strong set of procedurals, such as ABC’s Nathan Fillion-starrer “The Rookie” and Fox’s Stephen Dorff-led “Deputy,” but has also gained traction with cable propositions such as HBO’s “Sharp Objects” and the forthcoming thriller “Run” from “Fleabag” creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who both produces and stars.
However, following Hasbro’s shock $3.8 billion all-cash deal for the business – an acquisition that made sense from a kids’ content perspective given eOne’s lucrative “Peppa Pig” franchise and “PJ Masks” property – alarm bells rang around eOne’s future prospects in scripted drama.
Now that the deal has closed, senior eOne TV execs – who last week hosted global buyers in London for the firm’s annual U.K. Screenings event – are assuaging fears about the company’s post-Hasbro pipeline, and communicating that the scripted strategy remains intact.
Noel Hedges, executive VP of acquisitions for eOne, tells Variety: “Drama is a huge part of eOne’s business and Hasbro bought the business not to shrink it, but expand it.”
At the London showcase, executives were telling international partners, including broadcasters and streamers, that “things aren’t going to change.”
“If anything, eOne is now supported by a very complementary business. We will support Hasbro’s in-house IP and now find ways of bringing that to screen internally,” explains Hedges, adding that third-party deals with producers are also unaffected.
“(Hasbro) wants eOne to thrive, and from a distribution POV, they want us to be the portal through which we can take that content to the world.”
Hasbro will use eOne to leverage brands such as “Dungeons and Dragons,” “GI Joe,” “Transformers,” “Monopoly,” “Clue,” “Furby” and “Action Man,” among others.
Hedges notes that, “Even if it’s a kids brand, it could be integrated into a cross-generational family (offering). Hasbro is a family business but there is a lot there that isn’t just in the kids space.”
Pancho Mansfield, president of global scripted programming for eOne, adds that the business will take “special care” to curate Hasbro IP.
“They have more than 1,500 brands and some of them already existed in some form or another, while (others) we are now developing. We are figuring out the right way to bring them to life.”
Feature films such as a new “Transformers” instalment and “GI Joe” movie, both with Paramount, are on the way, says Mansfield, although TV adaptations of Hasbro IP likely won’t air until 2021.
Other eOne projects trotted out to buyers at the U.K. Screenings showcase include “Call My Agent!” producers Harold Valentin and Aurélien Larger’s “La Garçonne,” a historic detective thriller set in 1920s Paris, as well as “Lucifer” showrunner Sheri Elwood’s Nova Scotia-set family drama “Feudal.”
Also on the slate is “Easy A” writer Bert V. Royal and “The Sinner” executive producer Michelle Purple’s teen drama “Last Summer” for ABC’s Freeform.
Under Hasbro, eOne CEO Darren Throop will report to Hasbro chairman-CEO Brian Goldner. Meanwhile, Olivier Dumont, eOne’s president of family and brands; Steve Bertram, president of film and television; and Chris Taylor, global president of music, will also move to Hasbro and continue to report into Throop.