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Programming Profile

Entertainment One ushers in a new era and launches inaugural showcase event


Entertainment One (eOne) has added a number of new dramas to its C21 Digital Screening playlist alongside a variety of unscripted titles as production resumes and demand for its programming continues to grow globally.


It’s just over a year since US-based play and entertainment leader Hasbro acquired global independent studio eOne in a transaction valued at US$3.8bn. The deal was closed in December, just a few months before Covid-19 turned the world upside down and TV production ground to a halt.


“Like many businesses, we were impacted by the quarantine brought on by the pandemic,” says eOne president of international distribution Stuart Baxter. “However, despite those challenges, our business has been very active. As we navigate this ever-changing market, we remain focused on continuing to deliver quality entertainment to meet the demand from our partners around the world.”


Stuart Baxter, eOne

It’s with this mission in mind that the company serves up its latest C21 Digital Screenings playlist, featuring an array of scripted and unscripted titles designed to appeal to buyers across the international spectrum, whether broadcast, cable or SVoD.


Headlining the scripted slate is Nova Scotia-set raucous drama Feudal (8×60’). Described as ‘Shameless meets Succession,’ the show was created by Lucifer producer Sheri Elwood and is produced by eOne together with Six Eleven Media for CBC, the broadcaster that brought viewers Schitt’s Creek.


Family Law (10×60’), meanwhile, is a Vancouver-set drama produced by Seven24 Films and Lark Productions for Global TV in Canada. The series follows a flawed but highly intelligent lawyer as she struggles to put her career and family back together after hitting rock bottom.


“Feudal and Family Law are light, fun and entertaining. We anticipate these series will likely generate broad interest amongst the linear buyers,” says eOne EMEA exec VP of sales Dan Gopal. “The fact that both Feudal and Family Law are currently in production puts us in a good position to offer clients new, finished productions for the 2021 season.”


Gopal points out that these are two of five scripted shows currently filming in Canada. Other productions featured on the company’s playlist include Cruel Summer (10×60’), a mystery suspense drama from Bert V Royal and eOne, exec produced by actor Jessica Biel and Michelle Purple via their Iron Ocean Productions label. It is currently set to resume production in Texas.


Season three of hit Nathan Fillion drama The Rookie is also back underway in LA. The show is exec produced by former eOne president and chief content officer Mark Gordon, who has now set up his own prodco backed by the company, with HBO veteran Michael Lombardo taking over as president of global television.


The Rookie has been picked up in over 180 territories and, according to eOne APAC exec VP of sales Joyce Yeung, has been proving particularly popular among buyers within her region in the last six months.


“As a result of the pandemic, viewers now have a bigger appetite to watch more light-hearted crime series. The Rookie fits the bill perfectly,” Yeung says. “We were very excited to have added Wowow Japan to the list recently and where it performed very well when it premiered on the channel earlier this month.”


Yeung also highlights other police procedurals in the eOne catalogue that continue to do good business for the company – the likes of Jason Priestley/Cindy Sampson private detective drama Private Eyes, which is currently in production on season 5; and new female-led French period crime drama La Garçonne (6×60′), which launched as France 2’s #1 scripted series of 2020 to date and represents eOne’s first non-English-language property.


“The global SVoD players come in earlier and tend to focus on the new, upcoming titles they can buy early for multiple territories,” says Gopal, commenting on the wider market trends seen in the past six months. “The local pay TV and SVoD players base their model on lots of volume and box-set binge-viewing of series like Private Eyes, Heartland and The Rookie.”


Gopal says it’s been “business as usual” among such buyers, whereas ad-funded linear broadcasters have experienced the biggest impact due to declines in on-air marketing. As a result, these players are putting greater emphasis too on acquiring for their on-demand services.


“We’ve seen quite a broad spectrum of programming sales across first-run and library, scripted and unscripted, as well as television and film,” he says. “New and returning series like The Rookie, Nurses, Burden of Truth and Private Eyes continue to sell. We’ve also had library sales like Rookie Blue and Ransom doing well.”



Dan Loewy, eOne’s exec VP of sales for the Americas, also cites recent sales of Nurses – the hit medical drama for Canada’s Global TV, which is back in production on a second season – among recent highlights.


“We’ve also recently concluded a few deals for the Stephen Dorff-led drama Deputy and continue to see momentum on this title, as well as La Garçonne going to French Canada,” says Loewy, teasing another sale in Canada for Between Two Worlds, a glossy Australian drama from writer Bevan Lee and starring Hermione Norris.


“It’s an indulgent 10-episode thriller that is flexible in its delivery, whether for binge-viewing on a VoD platform or a traditional weekly roll-out,” Loewy adds.


On the unscripted side, Loewy identifies Dr Janina Ramirez travel series Lost Worlds and Hidden Treasures – another of the titles on eOne’s fall playlist – as faring well, alongside titles like Lost Relics of the Knights Templar, Adolf Hitler’s War and The Battle for Hong Kong.



“We have London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year, which impressively was entirely filmed in the midst of a nationwide lockdown. It offers an exclusive inside look at animals and the people who care for them, which represents the type of feel-good content that is currently in-demand,” he notes.


Baxter says a host of unscripted shows are in production across the US, Canada and the UK. “Our production teams rose to the occasion developing a plan that put health and safety first, and we are thrilled to have our pipeline of new and returning series continuing,” he says.


Gopal adds: “We have seen interest for well-produced one-off documentaries that are political or convey an important message like International Emmy and BAFTA-winning Undercover: Inside China’s Digital Gulag, as well as educational programming such as history or natural history, especially given that people are at home and have more time to explore that type of content.”


The Highland Vet (12×60’) and Wild Animal Rescue (4×60’) – both shows from The Yorkshire Vet producer Daisybeck Studios – plus eOne’s own Arctic Vets (10×30’) are all designed to appeal to buyers looking for animal-themed documentary series.


Family Law
Family Law

Factual coproductions are part of ongoing discussions for the company in China, according to Yeung, with similar conversations concerning scripted taking place with parties in India and Korea. “Obviously, the planning time will now be longer than before, given that local productions are yet to fully resume,” she adds, however. “To a great extent, buyers are looking for finished programmes to fill their immediate programming gaps.”


“It varies by buyer and market,” says Gopal. “Generally, what we are seeing is the local players are less inclined to take big and long-term risks given the current climate, whereas the global pay TV and streamer players generally have more stability and are buying further into the future. We are able to have those coproduction conversations for shows that may not deliver until 2021 or even 2022.


“Each of our clients and markets are facing their own local challenges, whether it’s the overall pandemic, what’s happening locally, or what’s happened to them in their business with the impact on advertising and subscribers. The only common trend we’ve seen is that people are watching more television across all platforms, so the demand for content has been high.


Wild Animal Rescue
Wild Animal Rescue

“Given these challenges, we’ve been well positioned in a way where we can cover all angles. We have long-running successful library titles like Saving Hope, Ransom and Rookie Blue that are dubbed in markets and ready to go. We have been able to react quickly to opportunities for those, whether it’s with new buyers or clients wanting to come in and extend their existing deals.


All four eOne execs are looking forward to the return of physical TV markets and face-to-face client meetings. In the meantime, though, they have rapidly adapted to connecting virtually.


“I’ll be eating breakfast in Los Angeles while clients in Brazil are having lunch,” says Loewy. “It’s a fun way to stay connected with our partners during this unprecedented time, not just to discuss business but also to exchange stories on how this pandemic is affecting us all in our respective countries.”


Arctic Vets
Arctic Vets

The company is also gearing up for its own inaugural online showcase event – the eOne Preview: Studio Edition, taking place October 5-9.


“We’ll unveil a new and exciting line-up of content including development updates on ground-breaking Hasbro brand-driven film and television titles, plus all-new scripted and unscripted programming,” Loewy says.


“While we can’t be at the market in person, conducting meetings virtually can offer more opportunity to meet with more clients we may not have had the chance to meet with before, which is an exciting prospect.”

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  • 01-05-2020

    eOne is a talent-driven independent Studio that specializes in the development, acquisition, production, financing, distribution and sales of entertainment content. They are putting their international reach to good use by helping buyers whisk their viewers to faraway climes. Here, we take a look at the company’s C21 Digital Screenings playlist.


    It stands to reason that escapist programming which offers viewers a glimpse of glossy foreign destinations is going to be in demand.


    Stuart Baxter, eOne

    The C21 Digital Screenings playlist from eOne features multiple new series that do just that, spanning all four corners of the world.


    “We continue to build on our library of high-quality scripted and unscripted shows and with content originating from the US, Canada, UK, Europe and Australia, we benefit from a broad portfolio in terms of both geography and genre,” explains Stuart Baxter, eOne’s president of international distribution.