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Richard Brown’s This England indie Passenger acquired by Fremantle

Passenger’s docudrama This England for Sky

Fremantle has acquired Richard Brown’s independent production company Passenger, which recently produced Sky’s fact-based drama This England.

Passenger, which was launched by Brown in May 2019 with the backing of Fremantle in an exclusive multi-year deal, will now sit within Fremantle’s Global Drama division, led by Christian Vesper.

Prior to joining forces with Fremantle, Brown had a decade-long overall deal at Anonymous Content, where he developed and executive produced HBO’s anthology series True Detective and exec produced Hulu’s George Clooney-fronted limited series Catch-22 and Netflix’s medieval action film Outlaw King, starring Chris Pine.

During this period, Brown worked closely with Anonymous Content founder Steve Golin on the company’s transition to television.

In addition to heading Passenger, Brown will now undertake a new creative role across Fremantle’s Global Drama arm, where he will help drive Fremantle’s efforts in the development and production of TV and film projects, building a roster of talent relationships and collaborating with Fremantle’s international network of labels.

Passenger will expand its team in New York, Los Angeles and London, with Caitlin Bruner coming onboard as VP of development and Elise Swift promoted to creative executive. Bruner previously ran development at Noah Hawley’s 26 Keys. Additional appointments are expected to be announced soon.

Since entering the partnership with Fremantle, Passenger has developed and produced premium scripted and factual projects including Sky’s recently released drama This England, about Boris Johnson’s early days as prime minister. Most recently, Fremantle and Passenger have optioned Tess Gunty’s 2022 novel The Rabbit Hutch.

For Fremantle, it is the latest producer and talent deal following similar tie-ups with Johan Renck, Paulo Sorrentino, Luca Guadagnino, Michael Winterbottom, Pablo Larrain, Neil Cross and Angelina Jolie. Fremantle also recently acquired a majority stake in Ireland’s Element Pictures (The Favourite, Normal People).

In related news, Fremantle today promoted Ganesh Rajaram to CEO for Asia and Latin America, effective January 1. In this newly created role, reporting to group CEO Jennifer Mullin, Ganesh will oversee Fremantle’s production businesses in both regions, with local MDs of India, Indonesia and Mexico reporting to him. Ganesh, who joined the company in 2005, will continue to be based in Singapore.

Haryaty Rahman has been promoted to exec VP of sales for Asia. In this expanded senior role, replacing Ganesh, she will drive Fremantle’s distribution strategy in the region, partnering with local broadcasters and platforms to place Fremantle’s formats and content across Asia.

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