Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment has taken all foreign rights to Ridley Scott’s untitled PBS Civil War drama. The six-part series, a blend of hospital drama and family saga, will be shot in Virginia and is scheduled for a winter 2016 premiere. The sales team will introduce the series to foreign buyers at the upcoming NATPE in Miami. Based on true stories, the drama follows two volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the Civil War. Exec produced by Scott, David W Zucker and Lisa Q Wolfinger, it’s written by David Zabel who created it with Wolfinger. Production is scheduled to begin in spring 2015, in and around Richmond where much of the history took place.
International film group Umedia has closed its annual fundraising for investment in films and television with €58M ($70M) raised via its Belgian tax shelter. That’s a 5% increase from 2013. The money has already been invested in around 30 features and TV projects. Some of which are films where Umedia acts solely as Belgian co-producer and others where it has taken a larger producing role to fully or majority finance. Films financed in 2014 are a mix of English- and French-language including Studiocanal’s Tuesday’s Tale by Ben Stassen; the animated Deep by Julian Soto; the sequel to French comedy hit Les Profs; and Generation Z from Steve Barker. Umedia has offices in London, Los Angeles, Paris and Brussels and has now invested more than $500M with such credits as The Artist, Grace Of Monaco and John Wick.
FremantleMedia’s culinary gameshow My Mom Cooks Better Than Yours has been picked up for local versions by El Trece (Argentina), Prima TV (Romania), TRT (Turkey), Pop TV (Slovenia) and TV Joj (Slovakia). Fremantle acquired the global format rights from Spanish producer Madarina in 2014. The format takes a parent and their son or daughter into the kitchen studio to cook the best dish in a set amount of time against another parent/offspring duo, with the mother (or father) giving their child instructions from the sidelines on how to cook the recipe. Once a rival team has had their turn, a food critic blind tastes both dishes to decide which contestant’s ‘mom cooks better.’ The winning team also receives a cash prize and comes back to the next show to defend the title. The original format first aired in prime time in Spain outperforming Cuatro’s average by 21%.
Meanwhile, FremantleMedia International has partnered with AOL to bring its first long-form video series to the international market. Connected, a 10-part adaptation of the original Israeli factual series, will be set in New York City and is expected to premiere in the U.S. in March on the AOL On Network. It chronicles the lives of five seemingly disconnected New Yorkers as they explore the concept of family in the Big Apple. Connected was originally created and launched in Israel in 2009 and is one of the country’s highest-rated cable TV series ever. Koda Communications will produce Connected in association with Warrior Poets.
Keshet International’s game show Boom! has been commissioned by Chilean public broadcast network TVN for a local version. The stripped series will be produced locally by TVN’s in-house team to launch in the first half of this year. Boom! recently launched in Hungary, Kazakhstan and Spain where it has drawn robust ratings. It is also due to launch on Fox in the U.S. this year, on VTM in Belgium and on TF1 in France. In Israel Boom! is the highest-rated game show ever, drawing an average share of 38% across the first season. The format sets a squad of four players the challenge of defusing eight replica bombs by answering trivia questions correctly within a strict time limit. The multiple choice responses are represented by different color wires. If the player gets an answer right, the prize money remains intact and the squad advances. If they cut the wrong wire, or run out of time, the bomb explodes spewing material across the studio and shaking the set.
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