MGM Television Strikes First-Look Deal With ‘Watership Down’ & ‘Traitors’ Producer 42

Traitors Channel 4/ Netflix

MGM Television has struck a first-look deal with British management and production company 42, the business behind the latest adaptation of Watership Down and Channel 4 and Netflix drama Traitors.

The two companies have inked the multi-year production deal to identify and co-develop scripted series for the U.S. market. They will partner to create original scripted projects and also draw from MGM’s library.

42 has offices in London and LA and was set up in 2013. Run by five partners, Rory Aitken, Ben Pugh, Kate Buckley, Cathy King and Josh Varney, the company produced Watership Down, starring James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, John Boyega, Sir Ben Kingsley, Daniel Kaluuya, Gemma Arterton and Olivia Colman, for the BBC and Netflix, C4/Netflix’s Traitors starring Michael Stuhlbarg, Emma Appleton, Keeley Hawes and Luke Treadaway and Rob Lowe-fronted ITV drama Wild Bill. It is currently in production on Netflix’s The English Game from Julian Fellowes.

The company previously had a first-look deal in the U.S. with ITV Studios.

The announcement was made by MGM’s President of Television Production and Development, Steve Stark and 42 and the deal was negotiated by MGM’s President of Television Operations, Brian Edwards. The company’s television slate includes Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, FX’s Fargo and Hulu’s Mindy Kaling-exec produced Four Weddings and A Funeral.

“This year, MGM celebrates the 100th Anniversary of United Artists and in today’s crowded television landscape, UA’s and MGM’s legacy of putting the creative first is more critical than ever,” said Stark. “Our partnership with the dynamic team of managers and producers who form 42 will allow us to collaborate with global top-tier talent who can continue our long legacy of creating distinctive, quality series across the globe.”

“MGM has quickly become a formidable producer of high-quality, creatively-fulfilling television content and we’re thrilled to partner with them on this new venture,” added Josh Varney and Ben Pugh. “As we continue to expand our footprint and infrastructure in the U.S, we remain committed to working with the best talent and telling the best stories. Steve and his world class team, and MGM’s vast library, affords us endless opportunities to do just that.”

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