Production / Funding - Sweden/USA
Industry Report: Produce - Co-Produce...
NENT Group and MGM International Television Productions to develop and co-produce six English-language original international series
The series will be shown exclusively as Viaplay Originals throughout the Nordics, the Baltics, the Netherlands and Poland, with MGM handling distribution in the rest of the world
Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) and MGM International Television Productions have announced a new, multi-year deal to develop and co-produce six English-language original international series for NENT Group’s streaming service, Viaplay. Billy the Kid and Last Light are set to be the partnership’s first two projects. The six series will be shown exclusively as Viaplay Originals throughout the Nordics, the Baltics, the Netherlands and Poland, with MGM handling distribution in the rest of the world.
In detail, Billy the Kid is an epic romantic drama series created by Michael Hirst (the TV series Vikings) starring British actor Tom Blyth (Benediction [+see also:
film profile], Scott and Sid), who portrays the famous titular American outlaw. The series is a co-production with EPIX Studios and MGM International Television Productions, in association with NENT Group. Otto Bathurst (the TV series Peaky Blinders) is attached to direct the first two episodes of the eight-part first season.
The second joint effort, the apocalyptic thriller Last Light, is being staged in association with Peacock. Based on Alex Scarrow’s best-selling novel of the same name and initiated by Viaplay Studios, Make It Happen Studio and REinvent, it will tell the story of a family fighting to survive in a world suddenly thrown into chaos. The five-episode series stars and is executive-produced by Emmy nominee Matthew Fox (the TV series Lost), alongside star and three-time Emmy nominee Joanne Froggatt (the TV series Liar and Downton Abbey [+see also:
film profile]). Dennie Gordon (the TV series Jack Ryan) is directing the entire series and is also serving as one of the executive producers alongside Patrick Massett and John Zinman (also showrunners).
Commenting on the deal, NENT Group chief content officer Filippa Wallestam said: “Viaplay will soon be available in at least 16 markets, and unique storytelling is a key part of our expansion strategy. We are proud of our long-term partnership with MGM and the fact that we are now working together to co-produce series with some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Series like Billy the Kid and Last Light show the scale of our ambitions and will help put Viaplay on the map in our latest territories even faster.”
MGM International Television Productions president Rola Bauer added: “NENT Group’s focus on developing premium, global stories through an international lens aligns perfectly with our mission at MGM International TV Productions. Strong narratives like the epic series Billy the Kid and Last Light, which will entertain and also address important social issues, will capture audiences’ attention worldwide, and our co-production partnership with NENT Group makes this possible.”
At least 60 Viaplay Originals are set to premiere in 2022. Every year, two major English-language films about Nordic figures and events will be produced for Viaplay, beginning with Hilma (see the news), helmed by Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, My Life as a Dog) and starring Lena Olin (Enemies, A Love Story).
MGM International Television Productions has had six greenlit projects in production since launching just over a year ago. Currently, the studio has sealed first-look deals with Sydney Gallonde, Erika Halvorsen, Tamara Tenenbaum and leading Spanish talent manager Ruth Franco.
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