MGM International Television Productions and Scandinavia’s local streaming leader NENT Group have signed a multi-year deal to develop and co-produce six English-language original international series for the Nordic company’s SVOD service Viaplay.
The partnership’s first two projects will be “Billy the Kid” and “Last Light,” both of which were previously announced. Under the deal, all six series will be Viaplay Originals and will launch exclusively on the service throughout the Nordics, Baltics, Netherlands and Poland, with MGM handling distribution in the rest of the world.
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“Billy the Kid” is an epic romantic drama series from Michael Hirst (“Vikings”) starring British actor Tom Blyth (“Benediction”) as the famous American outlaw. The series is a co-production with EPIX Studios and MGM International Television Productions, in association with NENT Group. Otto Bathurst (“Peaky Blinders”) is directing the first two episodes of the eight-episode first season.
“Last Light,” which MGM is doing with Viaplay in association with Peacock, is a five-episode series starring Matthew Fox (“Lost”) and Joanne Froggatt (“Downton Abbey”), and based on Alex Scarrow’s best-selling novel of the same name. Originated by Viaplay Studios, Make It Happen Studio and REinvent, “Last Light” tells the story of a family fighting to survive in a world suddenly thrown into chaos. Dennie Gordon (“Jack Ryan”) is directing the entire series and serving as executive producer, alongside Fox and Patrick Massett and John Zinman (“The Blacklist”) who also serve as showrunners.
“NENT Group’s focus on developing premium, global stories through an international lens aligns perfectly with our mission at MGM International TV Productions,” said Rola Bauer, president of MGM International TV Productions.
“Strong narratives like the epic series ‘Billy the Kid’ and ‘Last Light’ which will entertain and also address important social issues, will capture audiences’ attention worldwide, and our co-production partnership with NENT Group makes this possible,” says Bauer.
Filippa Wallestam, NENT Group’s chief content officer, said “Viaplay will soon be available in at least 16 markets and unique storytelling is a key part of our expansion strategy. We are proud of our long-term partnership with MGM and that we are now working together to co-produce series with some of Hollywood’s biggest names.”
“Series like ‘Billy the Kid’ and ‘Last Light’ show the scale of our ambitions and will help put Viaplay on the map in our latest territories even faster,” said Wallestom.
Since launching a year ago, MGM International Television Productions has already greenlit six projects, including “El Fin del Amor” and “Shelter” from Amazon Studios; “The Reunion,” an adaptation of Guillaume Musso’s bestseller “La jeune fille et la nuit,” from France Televisions and Make it Happen Studio; and “Last Light” from Peacock/NENT Group and “Billy the Kid” from EPIX/NENT Group.
The MGM International TV studio also currently has first-look deals with Sydney Gallonde of Make It Happen Studio,
Erika Halvorsen, Tamara Tenenbaum and leading Spanish talent manager Ruth Franco.
NENT Group, which is set to premiere at least 60 Viaplay Originals in 2022, has committed to producing two major English-language films about Nordic figures and events, beginning with “Hilma,” a biopic of the Swedish artist and feminist pioneer Hilma af Klint. Lasse Hallström, the Oscar-nominated helmer of “The Cider House Rules” is writing and directing the film which will be headined by Lena Olin (“Enemies”). The Scandinavian company recently unveiled its plan to expand its international footprint and is planning a rollout in the U.S., the U.K. and more markets by 2023. Viaplay will be be present in 16 markets by the end of 2023.
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