Warner Bros. Discovery U.K. is re-teaming with Optomen TV to produce a follow-up to “Johnny vs Amber,” a two-part documentary which explored Johnny Depp’s defamation trial in the U.K. High Court with explosive evidence, intimate personal archive and in-depth interviews from both legal teams. Following the success of that documentary, the follow up will be focused on the recent and very high-profile legal battle between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, this time in the U.S. The two-part Discovery+ documentary will again look at the extensive evidence and testimony of both Depp and Heard. Each episode will present one side of the argument through legal teams, friends, family and key witnesses.
In addition, Discovery+ has also greenlit two further ‘vs’ series: “Coleen vs Rebekah,” will examine the recent U.K. court battle between high profile footballers’ wives Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy; and “Britney vs Jamie,” which will look into the truth behind the headlines, accusations and family feud between Britney Spears and Jamie Spears.
The new ‘vs’ series were ordered for Discovery+ by Clare Laycock, commissioned by Charlotte Reid and executive produced by Matt Reid for Warner Bros. Discovery in the U.K. They are executive produced by Nick Hornby and Sarah Eglin for Optomen TV. The three new series will be available on Discovery+ in the U.K. later this year with details on the international roll-out to follow.
U.K. broadcaster ITV and Twitter have revealed a multi-year content partnership in the U.K., which will bring broadcaster’s most popular output to the platform, including “Love Island” and “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!” With more than 41 million Tweets about soccer in the U.K. since the start of 2022, and as the countdown to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar continues, fans on Twitter will be served real-time highlights during matches and clips from ITV’s coverage throughout the tournament. Over the next two years, there will be similar output from ITV Sport’s programming, including the Rugby World Cup and Emirates FA Cup.
Overall, the partnership will bring over 1,200 real-time highlights from ITV to Twitter. Via Twitter Amplify, which allows advertisers to align their ads with premium video content, sponsors will be able to leverage ITV content offering while utilising Twitter’s targeting tools. Over the course of the partnership, the Twitter Next team will produce a selection of activations across ITV’s schedule.
Amcomri Entertainment’s U.K. sales firm 101 Films International has secured worldwide distribution rights (excluding U.S.) for Patrick Read Johnson’s autobiographical comedy “25-5-77,” from Oscar-nominated “Star Wars: A New Hope” and “American Graffiti” producer Gary Kurtz. The film is a a coming-of-age comedy inspired by the true story of a nerdy, alienated, hopeful filmmaker Pat Johnson about growing up, falling in love, and becoming the very first fan of the movie that changed everything, “Star Wars.” With its 45th anniversary this year, the film’s title stems from the 1977 release date of the original “Star Wars” film.
It stars BAFTA nominated actor John Francis Daley (“Game Night”), alongside Colleen Camp (“Die Hard with a Vengeance”), Neil Flynn (“Mean Girls”), Austin Pendleton (“My Cousin Vinny”), Justin Mentell (“G-Force”), Chris Owen (“American Pie”), Charlie Talbert (“The Big Short”) and Kenneth Mitchell (“Captain Marvel”). It is written and directed by Patrick Read Johnson, features an original score by David E. Russo (“Sin City”), with additional themes and songs by Grammy Award winning rock musician Alan Parsons (The Alan Parsons Project).
The 61st Monte-Carlo Television Festival (June 17-21), will host the world premiere screening of the first two episodes of dark action comedy, “Ze Network,” starring David Hasselhoff, along with Henry Hübchen. The series tells the fictional story of Hollywood actor David Hasselhoff’s new lead role in a theater play in Germany which plunges him into the center of an international conspiracy of former cold war assassins, while all around him the fabric of reality seems to break down. Both stars will attend the public screening on June 19 at the Grimaldi Forum, along with producers Siegfried Kamml and Christian Alvart. The series is created and directed by Christian Alvart and written by Alvart and Arend Remmers. It is executive produced by Hasselhoff, Hauke Bartel, Thomas Disch, Meghan Lyvers and Al Hassas. Produced by Syrreal Entertainment and CBS Studios for RTL+, “Ze Network” is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution outside of German speaking territories.
UK indie Zig Zag has appointed Sarah McQueen as head of production and David Arrowsmith as director of development. With 18 years industry experience including spells at Fremantle, Naked and TalkBack Thames, McQueen replaces Wendi Rose and reports into MD, Matt Graff. Arrowsmith joins with over 20 years’ experience in factual television, devising and developing hundreds of hours of commissioned U.K. and international content, with career highlights including BAFTA-winning “Cruising with Jane McDonald” and drama doc series “Survivors.”
Meanwhile, global sports streamer DAZN has hired Pete Oliver as chief marketing officer. Oliver joins from BT, where, among other roles during his 20-year tenure, he ran BT Sport’s marketing teams for seven years.
MContent, a leading Watch2Earn fully decentralized content ecosystem has teamed with globally renowned Indian filmmaker Anurag Kashyap (“Gangs of Wasseypur,” “Sacred Games”) to launch a mentorship and funding program for aspiring filmmakers and content creators in India and neighboring countries. The program will be hosted on MContent’s MSeed platform, which allows content creators to apply by first downloading MContent and then uploading a 2-3 minute pitch video. The videos can then be viewed and voted on by the MContent community, consisting of consumers and investors around the world. Top-rated projects will then be shortlisted and four will be selected. The winners will have the opportunity to be mentored by Anurag Kashyap and other leading filmmakers and ultimately have their film project produced and exhibited by MContent.
MContent developed its Watch2Earn and MSeed technology platforms with the goal of addressing the funding and mentorship challenges faced by aspiring filmmakers. For the current program, Kashyap taped a special video explaining how the platform works and how to participate in his own inimitable style, seen here.