Sky Vision has partnered with Groupe Altice’s Altice Studio to co-produce Riviera, the Côte d’Azur-set thriller created by Neil Jordan. Julia Stiles, Lena Olin, Adrian Lester, Iwan Rheon and Roxane Duran star in the 10-part drama that explores the depravity of morally ambiguous characters in the luxury playground and its dark underbelly. This is the first agreement between Sky and Altice which has ambitions to develop original series and is launching a premium pay-TV linear channel this summer. Riviera, from Kris Thykier’s Archery Pictures and Primo Productions, will air on Sky Atlantic in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria this year. It world premieres at Mip-TV in April. Altice has been increasingly aggressive in the content sphere with deals in place with NBCUniversal International and Discovery.
Former French Culture and Communications Minister Fleur Pellerin has been named President of the association that’s looking to organize the first International Cannes Festival of Series due to kick off in April 2018. The planned project includes partnerships with Reed Midem which organizes the Mip and Mipcom TV markets, as well as Canal Plus. Cannes Mayor, David Lisnard, is a key force behind the festival which he has vowed will go ahead regardless of the fact that the Culture Ministry has been looking at Paris and Lille as potential hosts for a TV event which it will fund.
BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, and ITV have formally launched their new SVOD service, BritBox, in the U.S. The new service will offer up iconic Brit shows such as Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, the original version of The Office and James Corden-starrer Gavin And Stacey. The service’s “now” section will deliver U.S. premieres of new programs and episodes such as Eastenders, New Blood, Tutankhamun and The Moonstone as soon as 24 hours after they’ve shown in the UK. BritBox comes in cheaper than Netflix at $6.99 per month (Netflix starts at $7.99). AMC Networks, which has a joint venture with BBC for cable channel BBC America, has invested in the service with a non-voting minority interest. BBC Worldwide and ITV share an equal majority stake in the JV.