Steven Knight’s Peaky Blinders is proving a stellar hit in France, where the BBC show notched up 1.1 million viewers after its launch on Arte on Thursday. Arte claimed it was one of the few series to break through the 1 million-viewer ceiling. The news follows Peaky Blinders‘ successful launch in the U.S. on Netflix. The BBC has greenlighted a third series, which goes into production this year. The epic gangster drama, created and written by Knight (Locke), charts the rise of gang leader Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy (Inception). The show averaged 2.2 million views per episode on the BBC. Peaky Blinders won two BAFTAs and the Royal Television Society Award for best drama last year.
Tom Ara, shareholder and attorney at Greenberg Traurig LLP, has been appointed to the board of trustees at the U.S.-Asia Institute. He joins DMG President Chris Fenton as the only trustees from the entertainment biz. Ara already has worked closely with Fenton to bring a focus to entertainment’s role within the context of strengthening policy and ties between the governments of the U.S. and Asia. In late February, they presented an off-the-record Capitol Hill Forum in Washington, D.C., titled “Dealmaking in China: What Your Constituents Need to Know.” They also will plan a 2016 media- and entertainment-focused congressional delegation visit to China, where lawmakers will visit and interact with the key Chinese officials overseeing the heavily regulated industry as well as making visits to the China offices of various U.S. studios.
Price-comparison website Comparethemarket.com has won the contract to take over the UK’s 2-for-1 cinema promotion Orange Wednesdays, pledging more than $150 million in marketing spend to re-label the promotion Meerkat Movies. Mobile operator EE, formerly Orange, launched the promotion in 2003 but announced it was ending its association last year.
Virgin Produced India has acquired the Indian rights to Insurgent, the sophomore entry in the Divergent series, from Lionsgate in association with Kinesis Films. This will be the first release for Virgin Produced India, a creative content company that caters to the youthful and fast-growing Hindi-speaking population. Based in Mumbai, the company is a partnership between Richard Branson’s Virgin Produced, Cinema Capital Venture Fund and Tantrik Group. “As one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands with deep roots in entertainment, we felt it important to introduce Virgin Produced and enter the Indian market with the right film,” said Virgin Produced CEO Jason Felts.
Four senior journalists at Rupurt Murdoch’s tabloid paper The Sun are the latest to be exonerated of making illegal payments to public officials. Executive editor Fergus Shanahan, deputy editor Geoff Webster, royal editor Duncan Larcombe and chief reporter John Kay had argued that payments made to soldiers and Ministry of Defence officials had been for stories which were in the public interest. Meanwhile, a former Minister of Defence staffer was given a one-year jail sentence for passing stories to the paper in exchange for £100,000 ($149,000). The police investigation into illegal payments arose out of probe into phone hacking by journalists on The Sun‘s sister paper, the now-shuttered News of the World. Two former News of the World reporters have been found guilty of making payments to public officials. Some ex-cops and former prison workers also served time after being convicted in the case.