Viacom’s Channel 5 Cooks Up McDonald’s Docu ‘The Billion Dollar Burger’


EXCLUSIVE: Ploughing similar territory to Michael Keaton’s The Founder, Viacom’s Channel 5 is to tell the history of McDonald’s in a one-off special.

The UK broadcaster has commissioned McDonalds: The Billion Dollar Burger (w/t) from its own in-house production division Elephant House Studios.

The doc will tell the story of how the original McDonald brothers Richard and Maurice set up a drive-in hamburger restaurant near Pasadena, California in 1940.

By 1948, they realized the restaurant would be more profitable if they increased efficiency by streamlining the menu and preparing food ahead of busy moments including using lamps to keep the fries warm.

Unlike in The Founder, which was distributed by The Weinstein Company and made $24M worldwide, which showed Keaton’s Ray Kroc giving the pair the idea to franchise McDonalds, in truth, they had already franchised a number of restaurants before they met the milkshake salesman. Kroc rolled out the burger chain in the U.S. and later the world before buying the pair out and subsequently ending up in a number of disagreements.

By 1958, McDonald’s sold its 100 millionth hamburger, sold its first filet-o-fish in 1965, added the Big Mac in 1968, started selling chicken mcnuggets in 1983 before Kroc’s death in 1984.

McDonald’s claims that it sells around 75 hamburgers a second and has around 11% of the global fast food industry.

The doc is exec produced by Oliver Wright, who recently exec produced C5’s Diana to Meghan: Royal Wedding Secrets, produced and directed by Matthew Nicholson. Laura Porutyte is the production manager and Emerald Coulthard is researcher.

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