Australia’s Foxtel has greenlit a drama series based on the classic novel by Joan Lindsay, Picnic At Hanging Rock. FremantleMedia Australia will produce it as a re-imagining of the book which Peter Weir turned into a 1975 Bafta-winning feature. Eyed as a six-part event series, with investment from Screen Australia, it will premiere on Foxtel’s showcase channel in 2017. Published in 1967, the novel centers on the mysterious disappearance of three schoolgirls and their governess on Valentine’s Day 1900 and the far-reaching aftermath. Beatrix Christian and Alice Addison are writing the series. Weir’s film is considered an iconic emblem of the Oz film industry. It launched the careers of Jacki Weaver and John Jarratt. Jo Porter and Anthony Ellis are exec producing for Fremantle with Foxtel’s Penny Win. Casting is underway with FMI handling international sales.
Lee Raftery has been promoted to the post of Chief Marketing Officer, NBCUniversal International. The exec will be based in London and moves up from his prior role as EVP, Marketing and Communications. Raftery will be tasked with implementing further global synergies and driving new digital content growth initiatives across NBCU International’s marketing and communications strands to support future expansion. He continues to oversee marketing, communications and PR across the NBCU International Studios, international distribution and international TV networks divisions. In the last year, Raftery notably led efforts to create the hayu brand, the next-generation all-reality SVOD service which began its campaign in April in the UK, Australia and Ireland. Raftery has been with NBCU since 2011, he is also a former Comcast exec.
French production group Newen, and Keshet International are teaming on a drama development initiative. The scheme will call for French and Israeli writers to submit proposals and projects in English or Hebrew for one-hour or half-hour series with European appeal. Atar Dekel, Head of Global Scripted co-productions, and Nelly Feld, Sales Director for Europe, are leading the program on behalf of Keshet International. Sandra Ouaiss, Head of Co-productions, will oversee for Newen. Newen’s credits include Braquo and Versailles; KI is behind Hatufim, the original format for Homeland, and The A Word. The companies have committed to select at least one, and up to three, projects to co-develop and eventually produce. The submission period is now open, here.