In today’s Global Bulletin, Sky commissions supernatural thriller “The Rising” and Channel 4 and Peacock wage “The Undeclared War”; The Garden, BBC Studios Productions and Constantin Film Development reveal senior appointments; Rakuten TV expands AVOD offering; and Disney India picks up kids series “Dr Tenali Rama HMKD” from Cosmos-Maya.
Sky original series, supernatural crime thriller “The Rising,” is the first series produced entirely in-house from Sky Studios, Sky’s production and development arm. It tells the story of Neve Kelly who discovers that she is dead, and is determined to find her killer and get justice, believing that it was someone she knew.
The cast includes Clara Rugaard (“I Am Mother”), Nenda Neururer (“A Brief History of Struggle”) and Solly McLeod (“Boxing Day”), alongside Daniel Ings (“I Hate Suzie”), Emily Taaffe (“Rare Beasts”), Alex Lanipekun (“Spooks”) and Robyn Cara (“Ackley Bridge”).
The eight-part drama was commissioned by Zai Bennett, managing director of content at Sky U.K., and Manpreet Dosanjh, commissioning editor for Sky Studios. Serena Thompson serves as executive producer for Sky Studios, and the series will also be executive produced by Julian Stevens (“The Fall”) and Pete McTighe (“A Discovery of Witches”). It is written by Pete McTighe alongside Charlene James (“A Discovery of Witches”), Roanne Bardsley (“Free Rein”), Gemma Hurley (“Host”) and Laura Grace (“Das Boot”) and will be directed by Ed Lilly (“Industry”).
“The Rising” is due to begin filming in the U.K.’s Lake District next month. NBCUniversal Global Distribution is handling international sales.
In the U.K., Ireland, Italy and Germany, the series will launch on Sky One in 2022. In the U.K., Ireland and Italy, it will also be available on streaming service NOW, as well as Sky Ticket devices in Germany, Sky X in Austria and Sky Shows in Switzerland.
Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Channel 4 and Peacock have commissioned six-part cyber thriller “The Undeclared War,” directed and co-written by seven-time BAFTA-winner Peter Kosminsky (“Wolf Hall”).
Set in a post-pandemic 2024 in the run up to a British general election, the series follows a team of analysts buried in the heart of GCHQ (the U.K.’s version of the NSA) secretly working to ward off a cyber-attack on the country’s electoral system.
The cast includes Mark Rylance, Oscar winner for “Bridge of Spies,” Simon Pegg (the Mission: Impossible franchise), Adrian Lester (“Riviera”) and newcomer Hannah Khalique-Brown.
Kosminsky will direct all six episodes and has written four. Other writers include “The Salisbury Poisoning” writers Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson, and Amelia Spencer (“Dead Birds”).
Playground will co-produce the series with NBCUniversal International Studios for Channel 4 and Peacock. Kosminsky will executive produce alongside Colin Callender (“All Creatures Great and Small”) and Noëlette Buckley (“King Lear”) for Playground. Robert Jones (“Babylon”) is the producer.
NBCUniversal Global Distribution will handle international sales.
Magnus Temple, CEO and co-founder of ITV Studios company The Garden (Channel 4’s “24 Hours in A&E”), is stepping down after 11 years. Managing director Nicola Hill and chief creative officer John Hay are now joint CEOs. Temple will remain with the company for several months in a consultancy role.
Nicola Brown, who joined as director of programs a year ago, has been promoted to creative director.
The company is currently in edit on a series of “24 Hours in A&E” shot during the pandemic, later this year will deliver new episodes of “24 Hours in Police Custody,” has been commissioned to make a new medical format for Channel 4, shooting this summer. The year will also see the launch of its first U.S. series, a Kansas-based version of “Police Custody” for Discovery and Channel 4.
Elsewhere, BBC Studios Productions has appointed Adeline Ramage Rooney as creative director for factual entertainment and events in Scotland, based at its Glasgow hub, and reporting into Hannah Wyatt, MD of the division.
During a 11-year stint in Los Angeles, Ramage Rooney served as executive producer on “Emergency Call” for ABC and “Hotel Hell,” “MasterChef” and “Kitchen Nightmares” for FOX.
Meanwhile, Constantin Film Development Inc., Los Angeles, has hired Richard S. Wright as SVP of physical production, reporting into co-presidents Martin Moszkowicz and Robert Kulzer. Wright will oversee all production aspects of the company’s film and television productions.
Wright has over 30 years of experience in film and television, including two decades as head of production at Lakeshore Entertainment. Production credits include the “Underworld” and “Crank” franchises.
Rakuten TV has expanded its AVOD offering, launching more than 90 free linear channels across 42 European markets. Channels available on the service now include Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg Quicktake, CNNi, Euronews, Qwest TV, Reuters, XUMO-powered content, including eight Stingray channels, and top brands from Condé Nast, such as Glamour, GQ, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Wired.
Rakuten TV is the first Video On-Demand platform in Europe combining TVOD (Transactional video-on-demand), AVOD (Advertising video-on-demand) and SVOD (Subscription video-on-demand) services.
Disney India has picked up new kids series “Dr Tenali Rama HMKD” from Singapore and India-based animation company Cosmos-Maya and will air it on its pay-TV channels later this year. The 104 11 minute episodes will follow the titular doctor, based on a real life humorous political advisor Tenali Rama from medieval India, chronicling the life and daily antics of Tenali, a 9-year-old child genius who runs his family’s hospital in London.
The series is targeted at kids aged 4-11. Cosmos-Maya aims to launch four to five new IPs in both the TV and OTT space throughout the year. The next seasons of “Bapu,” “Gadget Guru Ganesha” and “Selfie With Bajrangi” are in production.