Channel 4 is getting in on the international co-productions game.
The FTA broadcaster today announced that they had hired Red Arrow Entertainment’s Simon Maxwell to serve in the newly created position of Head of International Drama. The hire is part of a larger commitment to drama which will see Channel 4 targeting co-productions with both UK and international partners that can ultimately sit alongside their slate of UK produced dramas
In his new role Maxwell will be responsible for commissioning a slate of high quality, ambitious drama co-productions that embody Channel 4’s distinctive values and have international appeal. He will report to Channel 4’s Head of Drama Piers Wenger. Prior to joining C4, Maxwell served as Red Arrow’s Head of Drama and Comedy and as such was responsible for launching Red Arrow’s move into scripted content in the UK.
Channel 4’s new strategy to focus on more international co-productions is expected to extend the reach of C4’s original drama budget, which remains unchanged. It also represents a rising trend in the industry where co-pros, often considered less of a risk, are on the rise. Recent international co-productions with UK broadcasters have included the C4/PBS drama Indian Summers, the BBC One/Cinemax drama Hunted and the successful Sky1/Cinemax action series Strike Back.
“A commitment to bold, distinctive drama is part of Channel 4’s DNA – whether that be original commissions like Babylon or Utopia, or acquired shows like Homeland or The Returned. This new additional slate of international co-productions will sit alongside both, adding breadth to our offering whilst also giving the opportunity for Channel 4 original drama to reach an international audience”, said Piers Wenger, Channel 4’s Head of Drama. “I’m delighted that Simon is joining the team and his appointment is a significant step in ensuring that Channel 4’s distinctive values are at the heart of all of our co-productions. Simon brings with him a wealth of experience as a commissioner and filmmaker and a supreme inside track on the international market.”
While Simon Maxwell added: “Channel 4 is home to the boldest, brightest voices in British drama and I’m thrilled by the opportunity to join the channel and help evolve its drama brand onto the international stage. These are exciting times for television drama – never has the standard of storytelling been so high or the spirit of creative collaboration been so strong. It’s inspiring to see Channel 4 expanding its commitment to world-class drama. Through this new international drama slate, we want to take the best home-grown talent out into the world and bring the world to Channel 4 audiences.”