EXCLUSIVE: Amazon and Liberty Global are traveling into the future with their latest big-budget drama order – a social media-infused sci-fi series from The Walking Dead exec producer Channing Powell and British producer Studio Lambert.
The SVOD service and the European pay-TV operator have commissioned The Feed, a TV adaptation of Nick Clark Windo’s dystopian novel. It will air on Amazon in the U.S., Canada and Latin America, while Liberty Global will air across Europe including on UK cable platform Virgin Media. All3Media International will distribute globally.
The “Walking Dead-meets-Black Mirror”-style ten-part series is set in a near-future world where people can download a social media feed directly into their brains and follows a couple who find their six-year-old daughter missing after the ‘Feed’ goes down and society crumbles. The book, which was released last month, is published by Headline and HarperCollins US.
The drama is being overseen by Powell, who has worked on the last five seasons of zombie thriller The Walking Dead as well as crime drama White Collar. She will exec produce the London-set series alongside Studio Lambert Chief Executive Stephen Lambert and drama chief Susan Hogg. Humans and Black Mirror director Carl Tibbetts is the lead director.
The project is the first international drama project to be picked from All3Media’s Studio Lambert, which is best known for non-scripted hits such as Undercover Boss and Gogglebox. The company’s drama drive is being led by Hogg, the former BBC producer, and last year launched its first UK series, domestic sex abuse drama Three Girls for BBC One, and the firm already has a number of other projects in development with U.S. broadcasters as well as BBC, ITV and Channel 4 in the UK.
Studio Lambert Chief Executive Stephen Lambert tells me that the show feels “contemporary, relevant and fresh.”
“It was so compelling that in the not so distant future, there’s these things that we have in our hands will literally be in our heads,” he added.
Powell is writing a number of episodes, while a number of other writers, including a handful of rising British talent, will also pen episodes. The show will have a “halfway house” writers’ room.
The producers will not use up all of the material from Windo Clark’s book in the first series as they see it as a returnable property and have already begun outlining ideas for seasons two and three.
It is also the latest multi-million-dollar drama backed by Liberty Global, which commissioned its first scripted origination – supernatural thriller The Rook from Twilight author Stephenie Meyer and The Night Manager producer Stephen Garrett, earlier this year.
Bruce Mann, chief programming officer at Liberty Global, said that it was looking for “large scale, ambitious shows about contemporary ideas that make a global impact and get people talking.”
“So we were delighted Stephen and Susan brought us such a bold and thought-provoking series. Having the talented Channing Powell attached as showrunner is really exciting,” he added.
Liberty Global’s first drama The Rook will air later this year on U.S. sister cable network Starz, while this is its first scripted partnership with Jeff Bezos’ firm. “The Feed has an incredibly provocative story that will challenge and entertain our customers,” said Brad Beale, Vice President, Worldwide TV Content Acquisition, Amazon Prime Video. “Channing Powell has an amazing track record captivating audiences globally and we’re excited to be collaborating with her on this project.”