Rolling Stone has sold a 49% stake of the iconic American pop culture magazine to Singapore-based social music company BandLab Technologies. Wenner Media, the magazine’s parent company, announced the deal over the weekend. Terms have not been disclosed but the investment does not include ownership in Wenner Media. The move comes at a time when the publishing industry is increasingly looking to capitalize on the digital advertising business as print ad revenue continues to decline. BandLab, which is run by Kuok Meng Ru, the son of a billionaire agricultural products tycoon Kuok Khoon Hong, will provide Rolling Stone with the opportunity to expand into live event, hospitality and merchandising business in Asia. Plans will see the two companies form a new Singapore subsidiary called Rolling Stone International.
The aftermath of The Great British Bake Off fallout could see the BBC launch a rival show, with GBBO hosts Mary Berry, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, before Channel 4 is able to get its new version to rise. Over the weekend, both The Guardian and The Telegraph posted speculative stories that indicate the BBC is planning a new cookery competition that would rival GBBO but a spokesperson at the channel confirmed to Deadline that it’s early days. Earlier this month, the UK hit show’s production company Love Productions said it was taking the format to Channel 4 after it failed to reach an agreement with the BBC after seven seasons with the public broadcaster. Much-loved comedic duo Perkins and Giedroyc, who have hosted the show since its inception and are famed for their cheeky innuendoes, soon announced they were exiting and proclaimed their loyalty to BBC and then star baker Berry followed suit. Paul Hollywood, Berry’s co-judge on the show, announced he would continue his role when the show moves channels.
It makes sense that the BBC would want to do something with Berry. The 81 year-old baker pledged her loyalty to the channel when she announced her decision to leave GBBO. “My decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them, as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique a brilliant format from day one,” she said in a statement.
DCD Rights has pacted with RLJ Entertainment and BBC Four on thriller Deep Water which debuts on SBS Australia this fall. Starring Yael Stone (Orange Is The New Black) and Noah Taylor (Peaky Blinders), it centers on a crime wave that struck Sydney’s coastal communities in the 1980s and 90s. It’s been set to air in North America on RLJ’s Acorn TV beginning November 7. BBC Four has also acquired Season 2 of DCD’s political thriller The Code which RLJ previously picked up for an October 10 Stateside bow. The deals precede the launch of DCD’s legal drama Striking Out at next month’s Mipcom TV market in Cannes. Striking Out, about the tumultuous professional and personal life of Dublin-based solicitor Tara (Moone Boy‘s Amy Huberman) and her fledgling firm, is co-produced by Acorn Media Enterprises, Acorn TV’s UK development arm. Made by Blinder Films for RTE, it also stars Rory Keenan (Peaky Blinders), Fiona O’Shaughnessy (The Living And The Dead) and Neil Morrissey (Line Of Duty).
Michael Gambon, Simon Callow and Olivia Williams have joined the cast of Stephen Frears’ Victoria and Abdul, which has begun filming at locations across Scotland, India and England. Focus Features hold worldwide rights for the Working Title production, which stars Judi Dench as Queen Victoria opposite Ali Fazal (Furious 7) as Abdul Karim. Lee Hall writes the script, which tells the true story of an unexpected friendship in the later years of Queen Victoria’s remarkable rule. When Abdul travels from India to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance with a loyalty to one another that her household and inner circle attempt to destroy. Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner produce alongside Beeban Kidron and Tracey Seaward while BBC Films’ Christine Langan exec produces. Focus will release the movie domestically in exclusive engagements on September 22, 2017, with an expansion on September 29. Universal Pictures International will distribute the film around the world, starting with a September 8, 2017 UK release.