ITV Studios’ Maria Kyriacou
By Mansha Daswani
ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE) is well known as one of the world’s preeminent suppliers of British drama, from classics like Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Prime Suspect to its latest wave of hits, among them Victoria, Poldark, The City and the City and Vanity Fair. As its parent company has expanded its reach, however, ITVS GE has been able to radically broaden its slate. ITV Studios’ enhanced global presence—with operations in the U.S., Australia, France, Germany and Scandinavia—has translated into a wider portfolio at ITVS GE, one that includes the upcoming, highly anticipated American drama Snowpiercer and a wave of foreign-language shows. Maria Kyriacou, the president of international at ITV Studios, tells TV Drama Weekly about the diverse slate at ITVS GE and weighs in on the latest developments in the global scripted landscape.
TV DRAMA: Tell us about ITV Studios’ new drama slate for this MIPCOM.
KYRIACOU: Headlining our MIPCOM slate is The War of the Worlds. It’s from Mammoth Screen, the company behind Victoria, Poldark and Vanity Fair. They are a super team, extremely good at these literary adaptations. With Peter Harness writing, I think it’s a great example of what the U.K. does very well. It’s a very bold interpretation of the original [H. G. Wells] novel, set in Edwardian England. I think people will be surprised at how the menace of the aliens is built up and how thrilling it becomes.
We have a really good-looking slate of both English-language and non-English-language shows. What’s new for us this market is the number of shows that are coming out of Europe. I believe it’s a sign of the strength of creativity in France, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia. And it’s a sign of what ITV Studios has become—more of a balanced global business now than it was a few years ago. Alongside our British shows—Dark Heart, an ITV detective series from Chris Lang; Cleaning Up, from Sister Pictures, Jane Featherstone’s company, starring Sheridan Smith—we have several European dramas. West of Liberty is a six-part series set in Germany but predominantly in the English language. It’s from Anagram and Network Movie for SVT and ZDF, and tells the story of a retired Stasi agent and CIA informant, who is coaxed back into the field for one final investigation. We also have the crime procedural Balthazar from one of our French production labels, Beaubourg Stories, and Speakerine from another of our French labels, Macondo.
TV DRAMA: You have a slate that encompasses shows from ITV Studios-owned outlets as well as third parties. What are some of the models you’re using to pull these projects together?
KYRIACOU: The models vary. Co-production is a big part of the conversation for us, bringing partners together. Sometimes it’s just as simple as joining forces in order to fund ambitious shows such as Vanity Fair (a co-production between Amazon and ITV), but we’re also starting to see a few more bottom-up co-developments happening organically across the business. Because we have production capabilities in France, Italy, Scandinavia and Germany, as well as the U.K. and the U.S., that network of talented producers has begun working together on ideas that could bring in audiences in more than one territory. There’s nothing we can announce yet, but there are three or four projects that are live and working their way through the development cycle. It’s a heartening thing to know that we are becoming much more than the sum of our parts; our labels are really benefiting from being part of our creative-led business, and they are leveraging it.
Additionally, we’re bringing in the knowledge of our local production teams to help presell and bring funding into projects that are relatively well-developed.
This interview continues here.
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TV Drama Guide 2018/2019