ITV America is doubling down on non-scripted projects for a slew of SVOD services as it emerged that the U.S. production arm of the British broadcaster is making a documentary series about the dark net for Netflix.
The company revealed that it is producing Dark Web for the digital platform, a multi-part documentary series looking at the part of the internet not indexed by search engines that features people selling all manner of illegal wares. It’s thought that the series was commissioned some time ago under the leadership of Brent Montgomery, the Leftfield Pictures founder who stepped down last month as Chief Executive of ITV America.
ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall said the digital platforms such as Netflix and Facebook were increasingly a focus for its production business. “There’s no question that the FAANGs are a definite opportunity for our studios business both in America and worldwide. The production business in America is very focused on that sector and is going very well from it.”
Ian Griffiths, Chief Operating Officer and Group Finance Director at ITV, added that the demand from these platforms is diversifying, which is good news for ITV America, which traditionally has been strong in non-scripted than scripted. “A lot of conversation around the platforms and SVOD providers is focused on drama but increasingly what we’re seeing in the US is a desire for a more diverse mix of content, particularly into entertainment and factual and that’s where we’re really strong in the US business and we’ve got some quite interesting things coming through the development pipeline. More heartland ITV America content rather than just big budget dramas.”
Aside from Dark Web, ITV-owned Mammoth Screen is producing Vanity Fair with Amazon, while ITV America is making Queer Eye for the Straight Guy for Netflix and Alison Owen’s ITV-backed indie Monumental Pictures is making Harlots for Hulu.It is also in development with a number of shows for Facebook.
As part of its full-year financial results, ITV revealed that revenue at ITV America grew by 33% to £313M (US$434M), up from £235M last year. It continues to produce non-scripted series such as Hell’s Kitchen, Pawn Stars, Alone, Forged in Fire and First 48 alongside new commissions including Sideserf, World Hip Hop Star and Big Star’s Little Star. In drama, it has delivered five drama commissions including The Good Witch, which has been ordered for a fourth series by Hallmark, Sun Records for CMT, Somewhere Between, which ran for one summer season on ABC and two pilots for TNT, Highland and Snowpiercer, the latter which has been commissioned for a ten-part series.
This comes as David George, who has been President of ITV America since January 2017, took over as Chief Executive of the U.S. division in January following Montgomery’s departure. ITV’s US arm includes Leftfield Pictures, ITV Entertainment, run by former Turner and Mark Burnett executive David Eilenberg, Marriage Boot Camp producer Thinkfactory Media, Cake Boss indie High Noon Entertainment, Loud TV, Outpost Entertainment and Sirens Media. It also has a number of talent-fronted partnerships with the likes of Michael Strahan, John Cena and Bethenny Frankel.