In January of 2022, Studiocanal is set to regain distribution rights to more than 200 high-profile feature films, ending its long-term distribution deal with NBCUniversal, and will be adding the films to its current catalog of prestige titles available to TV and SVOD players. Key names among the returning titles take in Carolco films “Terminator 2,” the “Rambo” trilogy and “Basic Instinct”; Working Title comedies “Love Actually” and the “Bridget Jones” and “Johnny English” films; as well as American classics including “The Elephant Man,” “Mulholland Drive,” “Apocalypse Now,” “The Graduate” and “The Outsiders.” Several high-profile European titles are also included in the package, such as Alejandro Amenabar’s “The Others,” Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist” and French classics “Le Professionnel,” “La Grande Illusion” and “La Grande Vadrouille.”
Production-distribution company Earth Touch has closed a raft of deals for titles from its slate of wildlife programming with broadcasters around the world and announced that National Geographic Wild International has ordered an eighth part of the company’s original reality show “Snakes in the City.” New sales include “Africa’s Deadliest 4” and “Lion Brothers: Cubs to Kings” to CCTV in China; “Oceanic Whitetip – The Shipwreck Shark” to RTL Geo in several territories and NHK in Japan; and “Lions Hunt for Survival” and “Diary of a Teen Leopard” to France TV. Earth Touch also sold large packages of 38 hours of content to Prima Zoom in Czech Republic and 22 hours to Germany’s NTV, including a pre-buy of Earth Touch’s upcoming landmark series “Epic Oceans,” set for delivery in November.
French broadcaster TF1 will extend its collaborative partnership with Global Agency and has picked up the label’s new competition singing format “Blind Duets,” selected for Fresh TV at Mipcom. Co-created by Gila Kantar and Izzet Pinto, the series features a jury of four celebrity hosts who perform a series of duets with contestants hidden in cabinets, before an eventual finale where the winning singers are brought out and perform one final time.
Madrid’s The Mediapro Studio has agreed to a new agreement with independent fiction production company Johnson Production Group, which includes the distribution and marketing of the latter’s high-end TV movies for the next three years as well as access to Johnson Production Group’s back-catalog of titles. The agreement reinforces The Mediapro Studio’s position as one of the main providers of premium content bound for both free-to-air and paid broadcasters as well as digital platforms globally. In total, more than 300 hours of Johnson Production Group content is included in the deal.
All3Media International has announced a new adaptation for the popular “Snackmasters” format commissioned by Belgium’s RTL TVI and to be produced by Belgian indie Lecter Media, titled locally: “Snackmasters, la recette secrete.” News of the Belgian adaptation comes hot off the heels of an announced “Snackmasters” adaptation in Australia, where the show will be produced by Warner Bros International Television Production. The original Optomen Television-produced U.K. version airs on Channel 4 and was nominated for a Bafta TV Award last year. In each episode, two top chefs face off to reverse engineer a copy of some of their country’s best-loved snacks from scratch.
John de Mol’s production and distribution company Talpa has appointed Maarten Meijs as its CEO, set to join the company in January 2022 and reporting directly to de Mol. Meijs joins Talpa from ITV Studios, where he was president of global entertainment. In his new role, Meijs will oversee the daily running of the company’s businesses across creative (Talpa Concepts), production (Talpa Entertainment Productions), partnerships and distribution (Talpa Distribution), as well as working to further develop the company’s business strategy and seeking out new growth in new and existing markets.
Canadian documentary festival Hot Docs has appointed Heather Conway as its new executive director and co-president after a months-long search following the departure of Brett Hendrie in March of this year. Starting on Nov. 4, Conway will take control of strategic leadership and management for the festival, its industry programs and its year-round initiatives, working closely with co-president Chris McDonald. She will also collaborate with festival directors Alan Black and Erin Lau, recently named to the festival’s new executive team as managing directors. Conway brings years of experience with her, having served as VP of English services at CBC/Radio-Canada from 2013-18
Channel 4 in the U.K. has acquired Big Little Fish’s documentary “Sir David Jason: The Lancaster at 80,” celebrating the 80th anniversary of the iconic AVRO Lancaster airplane. Narrated by Jason, the hour-long special recounts how, after suffering heavy losses early in WWII, the RAF commissioned designer Roy Chadwick to create a plane that could boost the resolve of its crews and enable allied forces to turn the tide in the skies against the German Luftwaffe. While the plane eventually did achieve what it was designed to do, its history is stained by early uses on German cities and civilians, and the documentary promises to tell the whole story of the Lancaster, warts and all. Commissioned by Channel 4, international distribution is being handled by Abacus Media Rights.