PBS Picks Up Euro Shows; Disney+ Hires International Exec; Aquarius Films Develop Oz Feature – Global Briefs

PBS has picked up British adventure series Expedition with Steve Backshall and European crime drama Vienna Blood. The U.S. public broadcaster has struck deals with Fremantle and Red Arrow International for the shows.  Expedition with Steve Backshall is a ten-part series, launching on January 15, that follows adventurer Backshall and his team as they venture into undiscovered worlds. It includes the first descent of a white-water river in the Himalayas, trekking through unexplored jungle in South America and climbing mountains in the deserts of the Middle East. The show, which has been sold into over 140 territories around the world, was originally commissioned by the BBC and UKTV and is produced by True to Nature.  Vienna Blood is a six-part crime series written by Sherlock writer Steve Thompson and based on Frank Tallis’ Liebermann novels. Produced by Red Arrow-backed Endor Productions and MR Film for Germany’s ZDF and Austria’s ORF, it has also aired on the BBC in the UK. Filmed in English and starring Matthew Beard (The Imitation Game) and Juergen Maurer (Tatort), it is set in 1900s Vienna, a hot bed of philosophy, science and art, where a clash of cultures and ideas play out in the city’s grand cafes and opera houses.

Disney+ has hired Chris Loveall (right) as vice president of international content, reporting to Matt Brodlie, senior vice president of international content development. Loveall most recently worked as vice president of international programming for AMC Networks, feeding original content to AMC, SundanceTV and BBC America. He oversaw shows such as Liar, a co-production between SundanceTV and ITV, and Australian dramas Rosehaven and Cleverman. Prior to AMC Networks, he worked at Pivot, overseeing shows such as Sky co-pro Fortitude and Australian comedy Please Like Me. Hoodlum Entertainment’s Noel Manzano has been named as Loveall’s replacement at AMC.

Lion producer Aquarius Films is to adapt Matt Okine’s novel Being Black ‘N Chicken & Chips into a feature film. The company is working with Jude Troy’s Wooden Horse to adapt the book, which is based on Okine’s stand-up show. Being Black ‘N Chicken & Chips is a story about trying to grow up when everything is falling apart. It follows Mike Amon, a regular teenager who just wants to fit in. He wants to sit at the cool bench. He wants to be a star athlete. He wants his first kiss. He also wants his mum to survive. When she is suddenly diagnosed with advanced breast and brain cancer, Mike knows it’s a long shot, but if he manages to achieve his dreams, maybe it’ll give his mum enough strength to beat an incurable disease. Okine will adapt the screenplay and it will be produced by Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford for Aquarius Films and executive produced by Troy.

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