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C21 DIGITAL SCREENINGS

eOne

Programming Profile

eOne looks further afield for its hit-laden Mipcom slate

08-10-2021

Transatlantic producer and distributor Entertainment One (eOne) is building up to Mipcom in October with a varied catalogue full of high-end shows. Spyro Markesinis, exec VP of sales for EMEA and Asia, reveals the strategy behind the slate as part of the company’s showcase on C21’s Digital Screenings.

 

In the world of drama, eOne is looking to push the boat out this year. Operación Marea Negra, from Ficción Producciones, is a four-part epic miniseries made for Amazon Prime Video that will debut on the streamer in Spain and Portugal. Set in 2019, it’s a dramatisation of the story of the world’s first ‘narco-submarine,’ which was intercepted while crossing the Atlantic leaving the three men inside with nowhere to escape.

 

The show marks eOne’s first foray into Spanish-language content – one of the hottest content categories at the moment. However, Spyro Markesinis, executive VP of sales for EMEA and Asia, says language wasn’t the main priority when acquiring the show. “It’s not a Spanish play per se,” he says. “Anyone you speak to will say that quality is the most important thing, and this is an ambitious series with high production values that covers a lot of ground in only four episodes. With the scale of the transatlantic, international sweep, it brings a very different feel to the domestic settings of some of our other shows.”

 

Markesinis
Spyro Markesinis, eOne

Markesinis feels Operacion Marea Negra could work on any platform. “High-end miniseries can be a really good way of drawing customers into a streaming service,” he says. “Shorter run series can also work well for linear broadcasters who are flexible with their schedules and can find slots for event programming. It’s a format with great flexibility.”

 

US drama Cruel Summer, which was licensed to Amazon Prime Video internationally and is now available for second window rights, is one of the company’s biggest drama hits so far this year, launching as Freeform’s highest-rated series ever and Hulu’s most popular drama in its debut month. Combining tension with 1990s nostalgia and presented in an innovative format with the story told from dual perspectives switching between the protagonists’ viewpoints, the 10-part first season has already been followed up with a commission for a second. From executive producer Jessica Biel, the psychological thriller follows two teenagers and the repercussions on their lives and the people around them after one is abducted and the other seemingly takes her place.

 

Operación Marea Negra
Operación Marea Negra

eOne is bringing more nostalgic TV to the table, this time taking us back to 1986. Critically acclaimed six-part drama The Newsreader has made it on to eOne’s slate after airing on Australia’s ABC in August as the highest-rated drama series of the year-to-date and ABC’s number one local drama in over a year (total viewers, L+7D. OzTAM 5 Metro City data). From Melbourne’s award-winning Werner Film Productions and director Michael Lucas (Five Bedrooms, Offspring), the series follows a young journalist (Sam Reid) desperate to prove himself and a temperamental but brilliant newsreader (Anna Torv) as they team up to cover some of the biggest stories of the decade, including the AIDS epidemic and the Challenger disaster.

 

Both Cruel Summer and The Newsreader are set in the past, but Markesinis is keen to point out that it’s not only the series’ period settings that will keep viewers hooked.

 

“The Newsreader is a relationship drama more than anything else,” he says. “The angle and period come with the show and add another layer, but they’re not the focus. Whether it’s the fashion or period details or whether it’s news stories from that time, they only enhance the show. Cruel Summer is the same – at its core it is a mystery thriller and setting it in the 1990s only complements the series, particularly with its nostalgic soundtrack.”

 

Cruel Summer
Cruel Summer

The Teacher, meanwhile, is a four-part series set to air this year on the UK’s Channel 5. It stars Bafta-winner Sheridan Smith as a teacher who is accused of having a drunken sexual encounter with a student, despite not remembering a thing and protesting her innocence. London’s Clapperboard Productions has made the series. For Markesinis, the show is an example of how eOne’s strategy still has linear broadcasters in mind.

 

“We try to acquire shows that can work on both [linear and streamer],” he says. “The key is having as diverse a slate as possible, but we are seeing a rise in on-demand services. You only have to look at some of the studios moving from linear channels to streaming platforms to get a glimpse of the future. But it’s not just studios in this space. You’ve also got local broadcasters and platforms that are responding both to the SVoD offerings from studios and global streamers but also to changing consumer habits. Linear broadcasters increasingly have an on-demand platform nowadays that works alongside their channel offering, so there are still plenty of opportunities on both sides.”

 

Alongside new shows, eOne’s slate boasts three returning drama series including Family Law, The Rookie and Moonshine. Markesinis feels these shows are key not only to the current slate but also to the catalogue as they demonstrate the lasting power of the company’s content.

 

The Newsreader
The Newsreader

Family Law is a drama series returning for a second season and is produced for Global TV Network, where it debuted as Canada’s number one new scripted premiere of 2021-to-date (Total Viewers P2+, Data: L+7D; Source: Numeris). Canadian prodcos ​​Seven24 Films and Lark Productions have worked together on the show, which sees a lawyer and recovering alcoholic Abigail Bianchi (Jewel Staite) struggling to put her career and family back together after she hits rock bottom. Her probation also stipulates that she work at her estranged father’s (played by Victor Garber) law firm while forging new relationships with her half-siblings.

 

Also on eOne’s slate, global hit series The Rookie is returning for a fourth season with 22 episodes, its biggest season order to-date. Now sold to over 180 territories, in The Rookie change is underway at Mid-Wilshire as Nolan (Nathan Fillion) starts his first year as an official patrol officer, while a new rookie with a complicated past joins the station. For Markesinis, The Rookie alongside other eOne’s bingeable, high quality dramas have the best returnability.

 

“Since launching The Rookie on ABC in 2018, we’ve maintained a drama series return rate of more than 70%, which is exceptional. It’s continuing a fantastic track record and it proves that these shows are resonating with audiences and working for our partners,” he says.

 

Family Law
Family Law

Lastly in drama, Moonshine (8×60’) is a coproduction between eOne and Canada’s Six Eleven Media, and its second season has been added to the company’s slate ahead of it launching in Canada. Created by Lucifer producer Sheri Elwood, the series follows a dysfunctional family battling for control of the ancestral business, The Moonshine, a ramshackle summer resort.

 

eOne is also highlighting several unscripted offerings. The first is Joni Mitchell: 50 Years of Blue, shining a spotlight on the landmark album, which celebrated its milestone anniversary this summer. The doc looks back at the time when Mitchell recorded the iconic album, that went on to inspire countless generations of musicians from the 1970s to the present day.

 

Rounding out the company’s playlist, eOne is bringing a blue-chip natural docuseries from Aussie prodco WildBear Entertainment: Caught In Motion (3×60’). The series slows down natural phenomena like the beating of a hummingbird’s wings in incredible detail. With footage from both land and sea, this high-end factual miniseries is sure to be jaw-dropping.

 

Caught In Motion
Caught In Motion

Looking at the company’s new slate as a whole, half of the programming is produced outside of North America, and Markesinis says it has been a conscious decision to search for the best quality programming from around the world and notes that there is increased buyer appetite to acquire content from more international markets.

 

“There’s great interest in international stories,” he says. “It’s no coincidence we have so many, because the demand is there. We’re looking further afield to Australia, Spain and the UK. In this competitive environment, broadcasters and platforms are also looking for a broader class of rights: they want to hold on to their leading shows as tightly as they can. Buyers also want more programming, as they have a greater multiplicity of services than before. Our slate represents huge breadth in drama and factual, and we’ve got a lot more to announce shortly.”



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