International Insider: Disney+ Day; Netflix Asian Play; ITV Profits Rocket; Mega Bake Off Deal

Television

Good afternoon International Insiders. Max Goldbart here with your weekly batch of headlines and analysis. To get this sent to your inbox every Friday, sign up here.

Disney+ Day 

Height of fashion: As we eagerly await news of what promises to be a packed Disney+ US slate, the streamer delved deeper into its European originals pot this morning, ordering its debut Spanish offering. Six-part drama Balenciaga (working title) is exactly the sort of high-end fare Disney+ is keen for, telling the story of a man who dares defy his social status as the son of a seamstress and fisherman to become a prominent fashion designer.

International ambitions: Almost since day one, the now-well-established disruptor has been clear about its international ambitions for both Disney+ and adult-skewing vertical Star, spearheaded by EMEA content boss Liam Keelan. Balenciaga is the 21st Disney+ commissioned outside of the US and it is now more than one third of the way towards its target of 60 by the end of 2024. Another of these high-end offerings is romcom thriller Wedding Season from Salisbury Poisonings producer Dancing Ledge and Emily in Paris outfit Jax Media, which has just set its full cast, while shows from Sally Wainwright, J Blakeson and new talent Emma Moran are all in production. Live action adventure Nautilus will be headlined by The Pursuit of Love’s Shazad Latif (pictured), revealed exclusively by Deadline’s Justin Kroll this morning.

Netflix Asian Play 

Time To Hunt

What’s a Squid Game?: In the week that Disney+ officially launched in Korea, Netflix continued its crusade to blast the nation’s content into the mainstream, with Andreas revealing Wednesday the streamer is remaking dystopian Korean-language thriller Time To Hunt in English, the first adaptation of its kind. Night Teeth’s Adam Randall is aboard the adaptation, which follows a group of young people who commit crimes to survive in a near-future hit by financial crisis and was well received at the Berlin Film Festival. Not to be outdone by rival Disney+, Netflix also struck a deal with Japanese Shoplifters director Hirokazu Kore-eda to develop two projects, a film and a series, and commissioned a Russian drama starring Alexander Petrov.

ITV Profits Rocket

Love Island

We’re back baby: ITV CEO Carolyn  McCall hailed an “outstanding” nine months for the UK broadcaster as it unveiled its January-to-September 2021 results, which showed a 28% rise in overall revenues and 32% for ITV Studios following the return of shows such as Love Island (pictured). Given the enormity of the lockdown-enforced production shutdown, improved revenues aren’t exactly an enormous surprise but the scale of the boost is clearly promising. And crucially, turnover was also up 8% on the first nine months of pre-pandemic era 2019. McCall was positively gleaming and stressed that the better-than-expected results will lead to an increase in ITV’s content budget for next year, as life returns to something resembling normality. 

Advertising, advertising, advertising: Speaking later on Wednesday during an investor call, McCall talked up a “renaissance” in TV advertising. As ITV wheeled out commercial exec after commercial exec armed with mountains of advertising jargon, Director of Advanced Advertising Rhys  MacLachlan said a “reinvention” in the way advertisers interact with ITV will allow the network to “compete on a level footing with the large US tech businesses seeking to eat our lunch.” But the tech companies appear just as happy to share lunch with ITV. A day later, Amazon Studios revealed it had boarded the network’s upcoming Succession-like drama Riches, taking rights in a number of territories.

C4’s Bake Off: Three More Years

The Great British Bake Off

Recipe for success: The Great British Bake Off, by far and away Channel 4’s most popular show, will remain on screens until at least 2024 following a deal struck between the UK network and producer Love Productions. The beloved format regularly pulls in almost 10M viewers per episode and will have run for 15 seasons by the time the latest deal runs out, seven of which were on the BBC. The deal comes against the backdrop of privatisation, a move C4 fiercely opposes. If the UK government does as expected choose to sell off the broadcaster, any buyer will find itself overseeing a small portion of the IP of a hit global format. Tempting? Deadline hears C4 privatisation has slipped far down new UK culture secretary Nadine Dorries’ priority list, with refreshing online safety legislation her main focus.

Red Sea Deep Dive

Shivani Pandya Malhotra

Shivani Q&A: Last week, International Insider reported on a boon in Middle East production so Andreas’ sit-down with the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival’s director Shivani Pandya Malhotra feels timely. Check out the Q&A for Shivani’s take on talent, Covid restrictions and US studios as she prepares for one of the most discussed festival launches of recent years.

London Gears Up For In-Person Screenings 

London TV Screenings

The clash: The London Screenings are back. More importantly, they’re back in person. The might of distributor quintet All3Media, eOne, Fremantle, Banijay and ITV Studios will bring interested parties together in the first week of March to examine their slates and talk TV. Interestingly, the Screenings are set to clash with BBC Studios Showcase, which is remaining virtual and also taking place in those heady first few days of March. Might the gamble pay off? Insider will be bringing you all the in-depth coverage you need.

Essentials

Jon Oigarden

🌶️  Hot one of the week: Viaplay has set its Norwegian Original in the shape of of World War II drama Gold Run (Gulltransporten) starring Exit’s Jon Øigarden (pictured).

🌶️ Another one: Game of Thrones star Rory McCann is to play the lead in Fudge Park/Ocean Independents’ DCI Jim Daley TV adaptation.

🚚  On the move: WarnerMedia France has appointed Stéphane Quéneudec as Head of Local Theatrical Production.

🚚  On the move: Netflix’s Drug Lord’s producer ITN Productions has signed Nicki Purcell as Head of Production. 

🍿 Box Office: Eternals dominated last weekend, with $91M overseas and  $162M global.

🎦 Trailer: The highly-anticipated teaser is finally here for Focus Features’ Downton Abbey: A New Era film, complete with first-look photos.

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