EXCLUSIVE: Banijay, the European production group that owns Keeping Up With The Kardashians producer Bunim/Murray, is expanding its UK drama business with the launch of its latest label, Neon Ink.
Banijay has established the London-based production firm with former ITV Studios executives Kate Lewis and Julia Walsh, who have worked on series including Jeremy Piven period drama Mr Selfridge, long-running crime drama Vera and Blackpool, which was later remade for U.S. network CBS as Viva Laughlin’.
The pair have already started to develop a number of projects including The Harvest, a domestic noir created by Born to Kill’s Kate Ashfield and novelist Grant Gillespie set in Birmingham and Southern Australia.
Neon Ink is the latest drama firm set up by Banijay; it previously established Blacklight TV with Being Human producers Phil Trethowan and Ben Bickerton, Fearless Minds with Complicit and Kevin and Perry Go Large producer Jolyon Symonds and Yellow Bird UK, the London-based division of the Scandinavian firm responsible for Wallander and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Lewis was previously Executive Producer at ITV Studios Drama between 2007 and 2016, having produced 70 hours of UK drama. Meanwhile, Walsh was formerly Head of Development at ITV Studios Drama, having also been a Script Editor at the BBC, working on dramas including Gwyneth Hughes’ Five Days, Joe Penhall’s The Long Firm and Andrew Davies’ Sense and Sensibility.
The pair said that they were particularly drawn to Banijay’s “dynamic, creative culture” and by its “keen appetite to co-produce in Europe and the rest of the world”.
Banijay’s UK drama drive is being led by Head of Fiction Takis Candilis and Banijay Group Chief Operating Officer Peter Langenberg, who said: “Kate and Julia are an exceptionally talented team with unrivalled contacts in the scripted genre, and an exciting development slate. Neon Ink is a fantastic addition to our UK drama hub and we look forward to adopting a similar growth strategy for non-scripted start-ups as we head into 2018.”