Left Bank Pictures chief Andy Harries calls China “in many ways the last frontier of television.” The company, which is currently working on upcoming Netflix series The Crown, has been looking to crack the Middle Kingdom market for some time and has now partnered with China International Television Corporation in a co-development deal. The parties will submit ideas for a high-end English-language drama intended for both the Chinese and international market over the next months, with one selected to go into production by next year. The series will air in China and be distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Television.
Left Bank was founded by Harries and Marigo Kehoe in 2007; SPT acquired a majority stake in 2012. Its other credits include Wallander for the BBC and Strike Back for Sky/HBO Cinemax. CITVC is a subsidiary of state-owned CCTV which has a network of 45 channels available to more than 1B viewers.
Chinese audiences are avid consumers of British drama, including such series as Sherlock and Downton Abbey. The planned project would blend the two cultures. Harries says it’s “the ultimate challenge to get into a successful partnership that makes programs which reflect both our and the Chinese culture” and calls CITVC “the ideal partner.”
Xue Jijun, chairman and president of CITVC, says the local culture is “extensive and profound, and has gained more and more love and attention around the world. We hope we can discover and create more and better film and television content, and distribute them to audiences around the world through collaborating with outstanding companies such as Left Bank and Sony Pictures Television.”