LeEco Woes Heat Up With Asset Freeze; ‘Marcella’ Adds Season 2 Cast – Global Briefs

Le Eco

Chinese internet and technology giant LeEco has faced cash difficulties over the past several months with Chairman Jia Yueting first acknowledging the troubles in late 2016. Now, after a Shanghai court ordered the freezing of assets valued at RMB 1.24B ($182M) connected to LeEco, its subsidiaries and Jia, the chairman’s own 26.03% holding in LeEco’s main publicly listed arm, Leshi Internet Information, was frozen on Monday. Per the South China Morning Post, the latter step was triggered by a loan Jia took out to finance LeEco’s smartphone business. LeEco was China’s first publicly traded streaming video company and has aggressively made deals to expand into other businesses including content, consumer electronics and auto production. It backs Le Vision Pictures which made last year’s The Great Wall with Legendary East. It also owns Le Vision Entertainment. In April this year, LeEco and electronics manufacturer Vizio called off a $2B deal for the Chinese company to acquire the California based Vizio, citing “regulatory headwinds.” In a statement to the Shenzhen stock exchange on Tuesday, Leshi said the court action would not impact its “normal operation and management.”

The second season of ITV’s hit crime drama series Marcella, written by The Bridge’s Hans Rosenfeldt, will welcome a host of new stars to join returning cast members Anna Friel, Ray Panthaki and Nicholas Pinnock. The new season, which has begun filming, has cast Nigel Planer, Keith Allen, Sophie Brown, Peter Sullivan, Jason Hughes, Victoria Smurfit, Yolanda Kettle, Josh Herdman and Harriet Cains in the upcoming eight-part series. Once again set in contemporary London, the new story begins with the discovery of the body of an abducted schoolboy. As the investigation progresses, new characters are unveiled as Marcella continues to battle with her ongoing sporadic fugue states. The first season of Marcella garnered an average 6.8M viewers in the UK, making it one of ITV’s top rated dramas in 2016.

France’s writers/directors/producers’ association l’ARP has lent its voice to the chorus over what is alleged to be a move by pay-TV giant Canal+ to “no longer pay amounts owed to creators under copyright.” At issue is what French media is referring to as a “unilateral decision” to stop the payment of royalties earlier this year. Guilds representing writers, composers and music publishers are now said to be gearing up to take individual and collective legal action in Paris over the reported non-payments of 50M euros thus far. Multimedia creators’ reps SCAM alleged last week that Canal is looking to “drastically review the amounts of copyright paid by the group.” An industry source also suggests a move to “shift the balance of power” and put Canal in a better position to renegotiate contracts over the hot-button issue of media chronology later this year. L’ARP for its part this week said it is “profoundly shocked” by the situation. “The future of our financing model will require consultation and inventiveness in order to set a new framework integrating all the digital partners… The filmmakers of ARP will uncompromisingly support the guilds involved in this vital negotiation with, hopefully, the support of the public authorities; they cannot remain indifferent to practices of such violence.” The SACD, which reps writers and composers, has taken measures to guarantee payment to its members for works aired by Canal Plus until September. Canal Plus has not yet responded to Deadline’s request for comment.

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