ITV Spent $68M On Diverse Shows In 2023; STV Studios Majority Stake; Newen Partnership; ‘Spinners’ Sale; WBC Boxing Series – Global Briefs

ITV Spent $68M On Diverse Shows In 2023

ITV invested £54.2M ($68M) of its Diversity Commissioning Fund last year on shows made by or about people from under-represented backgrounds such as Lenny Henry’s Three Little Birds. The fund was launched in 2022 with £80M to be spent across three years to “drive change towards racial equity and disability equity in whose stories get told,” with one quarter reserved for content made by “production companies led by People of Colour and/or Deaf, Disabled and/or Neurodivergent people.” The figures came as part of the Love Island network’s Diversity Acceleration Plan report for the previous 12 months, which said 475 productions across around 160 production companies have embedded DEI using ITV’s production principles over the past three years. The BBC has a similar £100M fund across a three-year period to March 2024 and says it has already exceeded this target. ITV said plans for 2024 include maintaining and building on these successes while “addressing antisemitism and Islamophobia through education and training.” As a broadcaster, streamer, and global producer, ITV has a unique opportunity to shape culture for good,” said CEO Carolyn McCall. “Diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental to our work at ITV. We aim to create and showcase content by, with and for everyone.”

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STV Studios Takes Majority Stake In ‘Patrick Melrose’ Producer

STV Studios has taken a majority stake in Patrick Melrose and Blue Lights producer Two Cities Television. The Scottish outfit has upped its holding from 25% to 51%. Beyond a second season of BBC drama Blue Lights, STV said Two Cities has additional high-end drama series secured to deliver forecast revenue of £55m over the next three years (2024 to 2026). The outfit was founded in 2016 by former BBC controller Michael Jackson and made BAFTA-winner Patrick Melrose for Sky. “Two Cities remains a natural partner for STV Studios, producing high-quality drama across the UK and beyond,” said STV Studios boss David Mortimer. Last year, STV bought Lego Masters firm Greenbird Media for around £21M.

Newen Connect Strikes Boutique Film Agreement With Yellow Affair

European distributor Newen Connect has struck a distribution agreement with international sales house The Yellow Affair. Newen’s film distribution team will remain its main sales house, handling international for mainstream titles and all films produced by French-based production companies within the Newen group, while The Yellow Affair will focus on distribution rights for indie feature films produced by Newen Studios’ other labels under the brand The Yellow Affair by Newen Connect. Feature films made by Denmark’s Nimbus, and Germany’s Flare Films – which includes the upcoming Punching the World by Constanze Klaue, based on the Lukas Rietzschel novel of the same name – will be amongst the first to transfer across to the new label. ”We are thrilled to be broadening the scope and scale of our relationship with Newen and their talented producers and look forward to bringing their strong arthouse films to buyers and audiences worldwide,” said Karoliina Dwyer, who runs The Yellow Affair.

Globo Gears Up For South Africa’s ‘Spinners’

Canal+ and Showmax’s high-octane drama series Spinners has sold to Brazilian TV giant Globo in a deal brokered by Studiocanal. The series revolves around the popular and dangerous South African motorsport of spinning, which sees cars driven at high speed with drivers performing stunts in and out of the vehicle. The eight-part series is billed as a “hybrid mix of this dynamic and electrifying sport, an intriguing gangster and crime investigation and an extremely moving coming-of-age storyline.” It launched across Sub-Saharan Africa on Showmax and on Canal+ in Africa in November and will soon launch on Canal+ in France. Cast includes Arendsvlei’s Cantona James and Chelsea Thomas. Joachim Landau and Raphaël Rocher produced the show for for Empreinte Digitale, with Ramadan Suleman co-producer. Jaco Bouwer is director, producer and co-creator, alongside Benjamin Hoffman, who is showrunning.

World Boxing Council Unleashes ‘Prizefighter’

A doc series about the lives of current boxing champions and rising stars is being filmed in Las Vegas, with director Tony Vainuku at the helm. Thunderbird Entertainment-owned Great Pacific Media and the World Boxing Council (WBC) have donned their gloves for Prizefighter (working title). “Every boxer in the world could inspire a script for a Hollywood movie; most rise from difficult backgrounds facing poverty, discrimination, or personal obstacles to become true heroes,” said WBC President Mauricio Sulaimán. “The documentary series we’re producing with Great Pacific Media will showcase these champions. Their courage, resilience, and pursuit of excellence will serve as inspiration for future generations.” Great Pacific’s David Way, Lindsay Macadam, Michael Francis and WBC’s Sulaimán are exec producers, alongside Kyle You and Tim Thom. Vainuku, co-director of Netflix’s Manti Te’o’s documentary Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist and Muscles & Mayhem: An Unauthorized Story of American Gladiators, is director and producer.

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