BBC Worldwide, Access Entertainment and Lookout Point are undertaking an initiative to fast-track production of premium quality scripted drama for television audiences around the world.
The partners intend to offer world-renowned writing and producing talent a new route to production, with an independent funding model enabling producers to have their scripted television series greenlit without first securing backing from any network or platform.
The aim is to greenlight a major series in the coming months and early conversations with globally-recognised talent have already begun. The newly formed commissioning entity will be called Benchmark Television and will not produce directly – instead it will commission from established third-party producers and leading writing talent, with full straight-to-series funding underwritten by BBC Worldwide and Access Entertainment.
The commercial model for producers is designed to give the creators and producers significant rights ownership and to be attractive to a wide variety of production partners, including those owned by major studios and media groups.
Former BBC Director of Television Danny Cohen, who recently joined industrialist Len Blavatnik as President of Access Entertainment, will chair a group formed of Helen Jackson, Chief Content Officer of BBC Worldwide, and Simon Vaughan and Faith Penhale, joint CEOs of Lookout Point. This group will develop, select and oversee the commissioning process, with global rights managed in partnership with BBC Worldwide.
Lookout Point will be responsible for the day-to-day management and operation of Benchmark Television, working closely with Access Entertainment and BBC Worldwide to harness the combined team’s extensive relationships with the global creative community.
Vaughan said: “Now is the right time to give the world’s foremost writers and producers another way to get their series made with maximum freedom and support. We are offering a new and dynamic model that will benefit talent, networks and audiences.”
Blavatnik, founder and Chairman of Access Industries, said: “This innovative partnership will finance and produce world-class scripted television for audiences around the world. Access Entertainment plans to work with the world’s very best writers and producers over the coming years and invest significant capital in television production.”
Cohen said: “This is a ground breaking partnership that delivers a new model for drama production and financing. We believe it will excite producers and writers, and provide a new route to market for scripted series. We will be seeking premium-quality projects and will provide the resources to get blue-chip drama into production for audiences to enjoy around the world.”
Jackson said: “Ensuring that creative talent are given every opportunity to produce their very best work is at the heart of this new partnership.”