In today’s Global Bulletin, BAFTA reveals TV awards hosts; Banijay acquires French animation company Monello Productions; Amazon Prime Video and Fremantle launch Italian docuseries “Veleno”; Wag Entertainment, Half Yard Productions announce appointments; and Cartoon Network plots Asian voyages.
Presenter, comedian, writer, actor and director Richard Ayoade (“Submarine”) will host the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards for a second year on June 6, while actor, writer and director, Gbemisola Ikumelo will host the British Academy Television Craft Awards on May 24.
Ikumelo won the BAFTA for best short form program for “Brain in Gear” in 2020.
Both ceremonies will be socially-distanced studio events with a small number of awards presenters either joining the hosts in the studio or via video call. The television awards will be broadcast on BBC One, while the craft awards will be streamed live on the BAFTA YouTube channel, as well as via BAFTA’s Facebook page.
Nominations for both sets of awards will be announced April 28.
Banijay has acquired French animation company Monello Productions, adding to a kids’ content portfolio that already includes Zodiak Kids and Tiger Aspect Kids and Family. This brings the company’s children’s catalogue to more than 2,200 hours. Previously part of Tetra Media Studio, Monello Productions is an independent outfit formed in 2013 by former Télé Images producer Giorgio Welter. The business is currently producing “When I Was Your Age” (FTV/RAI), “Street Football” season 4, in co-production with Zodiak Kids (FTV/RAI), and a new CGI series of the iconic Hello Kitty franchise. – Manori Ravindran
Amazon Prime Video and Fremantle have announced the launch of Italian docuseries “Veleno: The Town of Lost Children,” a five-part true crime skein that delves into Italy’s so-called ‘Satanic Panic’ phenomenon and events.
The high-profile docuseries, which will launch exclusively on Prime Video in Italy in May, is directed by Britain’s Hugo Berkeley, winner of Tribeca’s Best Documentary Award in 2003 for “A Normal Life” about post-war Kosovo.
“Veleno,” which means poison in Italian, chronicles the events that took place in Mirandola, Finale Emilia and Massa Finalese in Northern Italy between 1997 and 1998, where over 20 people were accused of belonging to a group dubbed “the devils of Lower Modena” who prosecutors accused of pedophilia and violence against 16 children. Following a confession by one of the members of the group of children, an in-depth investigation was conducted by Italian police which resulted in families torn apart and all the children involved being taken away from their families.
Fremantle is handling global distribution rights. – Nick Vivarelli
Asacha Media Group’s factual producer Wag Entertainment (“Combat Dealers”) has hired former Spun Gold head of factual Bridget Boseley in the newly created role of creative director, reporting into COO Steven Green. The appointment is part of Wag’s strategy to expand their output in the U.K. market and develop business for streamers.
Boseley’s recent executive producer credits include “Inside Monaco” “The Grand Party Hotel” for the BBC; and Stephen Fry’s “21st Century Firsts” and “My Years with The Queen,” for ITV. Prior to Spun Gold, Boseley was controller of factual at ITV where she commissioned “Holiday Showdown” and “Bad Lads Army,” then head of features and formats at the BBC.
Wag Entertainment was acquired by Asacha Media Group in February.
Meanwhile, U.S. non-scripted production outfit Half Yard Productions, (“Say Yes To The Dress”) a Red Arrow Studios company, has hired Ed Crick as head of development and Brittany George as director of development with Janice Mezzetti promoted to COO.
U.K-based veteran Crick most recently served as global head of content development at Red Bull and was formerly managing and creative director of Banijay label Bullseye TV, with credits including “The Bank of Mum and Dad” and “Gadget Geeks.” George has worked on the development teams at companies such as Alkemy X, ITV America and Leftfield Pictures, with credits including “Dragnificent” and “The 212.” Mezzetti started her career at the BBC before moving to New York to open a production arm for the BBC factual entertainment department. She then moved to Optomen Productions, and joined Half Yard Productions in 2011. Credits include “Top Gear” and “What Not to Wear.”
Iconic cartoon characters Tom and Jerry are preparing for their maiden voyage to Asia. WarnerMedia’s Cartoon Network has revealed that Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank are hatching a pilot show ahead of a short-form series that will transport the frenemies to multiple destinations around the vast Asia-Pacific region. Known stop-offs so far include the streets of Mumbai, the night markets of Taipei and the Australian Outback. Cartoon Network is also preparing a 7-minute special bringing together company IP from China and India. Tuzki, a Chinese rabbit character which has been a hit with young adults, especially on instant messaging, will appear side by side with Lamput, a gooey orange blob from India and master of disguise that has previously received an Emmy nomination. In a third initiative, the company announced that it is planning a fourth season of “Lamput.” Expect two dastardly scientists, Specs Doc and Skinny Doc, to keep up the chase for Lamput. – Patrick Frater