Torchwood ignites Starz, BBCWW pact
- Torchwood ignites Starz, BBCWW pact
US-based Starz Entertainment and BBC Worldwide
Productions have signed a multi-year
production/distribution pact following the success of Torchwood.
The pair will co-develop and coproduce new
series, comprising one-hour episode dramas that
will debut on Starz's networks in the US and
English-speaking Canada. BBCWW will sell the resulting output internationally.
The pair used the model for the latest season of
Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood, which was stuck in
development hell till Starz came onboard as co-finance partner.
The agreement will see BBCWW Productions lead
production on the new shows, working in
partnership with Starz's Original Programming
team. Details of the new series will be announced
at a later date and, according to the pair, could total more than 100 hours.
C21 first reported that the BBC was considering
extending the Torchwood model in April, when BBC1
controller Danny Cohen said he was interested in using it for more dramas.
BBCWW Productions head Jane Tranter said today
that her unit was "in a uniquely similar place to
Starz" and that Torchwood: Miracle Day (which is
currently broadcasting in both the US and UK) had
a been a "collaborative and invigorating journey."
Starz effectively saved Torchwood when it joined
the Russell T Davies-penned sci-fi drama in June
last year. The most recent episode scored four
million viewers on BBC1 last week, while the
series has scored consistently good ratings for Starz.
Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said his network had
decided that international partnerships would
play a key part in new original programming soon
after he joined the firm in 2009. The BBCWW deal
was "a major step in that direction," he added.
"It will allow us to provide Starz subscribers
more original programming, while delivering
enhanced opportunity across all our domestic
distribution businesses including Anchor Bay and
Starz Digital Media," said Albrecht.
"Our partnership with BBCWW Productions and BBCWW
allows Starz to more quickly capitalize on the
strategic opportunity presented by the increasing
global consumption of US premium TV series,
added executive VP of strategy and business development John Penney.
BBCWW Productions, which began working on
scripted series for the US market two years ago
under Tranter, says it has already sold more than
20 scripted projects to various cable and
broadcast network, and has another 10 unscripted series in production.
Its latest commission is a local version of BBC
docu-reality series The Week the Women for
A+E-owned US cablenet Lifetime. Filming has begun
in Yemassee, South Carolina (population 867) on a
6x60' series. The format sees a town's female
population leaving, handing the males responsibility of running everything.
Jon Kroll, Elli Hakami and Tranter exec produce
along with Lifetime's Collen Conway, Rob Sharenow
and Gena McCarthy. Lifetime first commissioned
BBCWW Americas to produce a pilot of the format back in 2007.
On Friday, C21 broke the news the French version
- Une Semaine Sans les Femmes - had been taken to
series on France 2 after a successful one-off special earlier this year.
8 Aug 2011
© C21 Media 2011
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