U.S. kids’ network Disney Jr has struck a deal with Endemol Shine Group to license the short-form series Aliens Love Underpants AND… Produced by Mr Bean producer Tiger Aspect Productions, Aliens Love Underpants AND… is based on the book series published by Simon and Schuster. The series of 12 x -minute shorts was originally commissioned by Sky Kids in the UK and Ireland and features five alien heroes singing and dancing to silly songs about their pets, birthdays and the ‘Underpants Dance’. The series will shortly air on the linear Disney Jr channel and is available now via its DisneyNOW app. Tiger Aspect’s Head of Kids and Animation Tom Beattie said “I’m so pleased that our underpants loving aliens are heading to the U.S. and Disney Junior is the perfect home. The mobile game is great fun and the kids will love engaging with the characters.”
Keshet, the company behind Hatufim, the terrorism drama that became Homeland, is gearing up for its latest drama, Diamonds, a series about a Jewish family that works in the diamond industry. Keshet International has teamed up with with Belgian producer De Mensen on the drama, which is being produced in English, Flemish and French. Based on an idea from De Mensen’s Jan Theys, the show is being written by Israeli writers Rotem Shamir (Hostages) and Yuval Yefet (Stardrive7) and Belgian writer Paul Piedfort (Aspe).The drama is largely set in Belgium and follows the story of the Wagner family, whose youngest son commits suicide and his enstranged brother returns from the U.S. to help save his family’s business. Keshet and De Mensen, which previously worked together on a remake of crime drama Salamander, have started talks with potential international co-producers and co-financiers. “There couldn’t be a more natural combination of talent to tell this unique story about the diamond trade. KI and De Mensen are both ambitious companies, driven by creativity in content and Diamonds will be reflective of that,” said Theys.
Tumble co-creator Jimmy Baker is to join Cineflix Media as a London-based development chief, working closely with the company’s joint venture with Duncan Gray. Baker, who co-created the BBC gymnastics entertainment format as well as Hat Trick’s Dinner Date, and food format BBQ Champ, becomes SVP, Development, Cineflix Productions. He will work with Cineflix’s creative teams in North America and report to Dave Hamilton, EVP, Development but will also work closely with the development team at Twenty Six 03 Entertainment, the indie set up by former ABC executive and Jimmy Kimmel Live exec producer Gray. “Jimmy has the rare talent of being able to transform innovative ideas into must-watch series. He’s a great addition to our team with a skill set that complements Cineflix’s development strategy,” said Hamilton.
Discovery’s Eurosport is to launch 50 hours of live virtual reality programming at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. The company’s Winter Olympics Eurosport VR app will include coverage of sports including alpine skiing, curling, figure skating, ice hockey, short track, ski jumping, skeleton, snowboarding and comes as the event launches next week. Ralph Rivera, Managing Director, Eurosport Digital, said: “Discovery has set out to transform the Olympic Winter Games viewing experience, so being able to offer viewers across Europe every minute of the Games and now every angle of some of the biggest events in live VR goes a long way to delivering this promise. We want to do this to engage more people, on more screens, with the Games than ever before, offering something new to attract younger audiences. In this way, we hope to make fans care even more about the sports they are passionate about.”
UK pay-TV broadcaster Universal Channel has acquired the rights to a raft of U.S. dramas including medical thriller The Resident. The NBC Universal-backed channel has picked up the Manish Dayal-fronted drama from Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution and has acquired two series, crime drama Gone and thriller The Disappearance from its sister company NBC Universal International Distribution. The Disappearance will air in February, Gone will launch in March and The Resident will air in April. “Universal is set to grip viewers over the coming months with a stellar line-up of UK premieres that are sure to be a huge talking point,”said Lee Raftery, MD UK & Emerging Markets and Chief Marketing & Content Officer NBC Universal. “The exclusive acquisitions of The Resident, Gone and The Disappearance, are exciting additions to our upcoming schedule, reinforcing our commitment to providing viewers with high-quality drama that features compelling characters.”