Fremantle fast out of the gate announcing new first look deals and sales of X Factor and Hit & Miss; AMC announce hot acquisitions; Titanic among sellers; BBC announces new science series with Brian Cox.

MIPTV began with a bang today with Fremantle, AMC, Hat Trick and Miramax among those making splashes.

Fremantle (FME) announced first look deals with producer Justin Bodle, responsible for The Day of the Triffids, Flood, Colditz and Archangel, and Super Size Me director and star Morgan Spurlock [pictured].

The pact with Spurlock sees FME bring the Sky Atlantic HD original commission Morgan Spurlock’s New Britannia to market. In the 10x60’ series, the US filmmaker dissects the eccentricities of British culture.
FME will also launch web series Failure Club (12x60’) in which Spurlock and seven participants meet once a week for a year to help each other achieve the things they’d otherwise never dare to do.
As part of FME’s first look deal with Hulu for its original programming the company has taken rights to Spurlock’s documentary series A Day In The Life (16x30’), which chronicles days in the lives of big achievers.

The first look deal with Bodle will see the two develop and produce an initial slate of four major dramas, the first of which – Fire of London (working title) – is a four hour television mini-series which dramatises the impact of a catastrophic fire in London.

In other Fremantle news, the company has sold the X Factor format to TV4 in Sweden and Rustavi 2 in Georgia, bringing the number of territory’s it plays in to 40, and it has sold Paul Abbott’s new series Hit & Miss, starring Chloe Sevigny, to ABC2 in Australia, TVNZ in New Zealand and HOT in Israel.

DirecTV has US broadcast rights to the Sky Atlantic-commissioned show.

Fremantle’s in-demand slate includes cookery format Recipe to Riches, 1001 Things You Should Know, Little Goliaths and Help! My House is a Mess.

Mad Men, The Walking Dead
and Breaking Bad network AMC/Sundance Channel announced a string of impressive acquisitions for select territories including hit series Weeds and Damages and The Straits and The Slap.

Cult hit Weeds was acquired for Sundance Channel in France and French Benelux through a deal with Lionsgate while Damages was picked up for Sundance Channel in Spain and Portugal through an agreement with Sony Pictures Television. 

Film acquisitions included Bellflower and Myth of the American Sleepover.

Miramax were also quick out of the blocks, announcing a deal with Sky Italia, Italy’s leading Pay TV platform, which will see a number of the studio’s films available across all of Sky’s local pay channels in the territory.

Hat Trick International (HTI) has now presold the second series of US-UK show Episodes, starring Matt Le Blanc, Tamsin Grieg and Stephen Mangan, to 150 markets worldwide, with latest buyers pay TV channel network Orange Cinéma Séries in France and CANAL+ in Spain (PRISA media group). Japan’s Wowow recently got series one and two.

Produced by Hat Trick Productions for Showtime in the US and BBC2 in the UK, Episodes is penned by writing partnership of David Crane (Friends) and Jeffrey Klarik (Mad About You).

SPI International bought pay TV and basic cable rights for the first two seasons of Tom Fontana’s Borgia series for Eastern Europe (excluding Albania) from Beta Film.
The $30 million Euro-backed production about the infamous medieval Italian dynasty will air on SPI’s FilmBox premium channels in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania in early Spring 2013.

The company also picked up 27 episodes of Nature and Science series from Global Telemedia for its doc channel DocuBox HD.

Broadcasters from France and Canada will air a new multi-million dollar period drama about a 13th century religious rebellion against the Catholic Church, to be coproduced by Breakout Films and Sienna Films.

The Heretics, which will air in France and Germany on public cultural channel Arte, has also sold in Canada. Echo Bridge Entertainment has distribution rights to the series outside France and Canada and is launching at the market.

BBC Worldwide is celebrating its first coproduction deal with year-old Chinese documentary channel CCTV-9, covering two new science series: Generation Earth and Wonders of Life. CCTV and the BBC’s science unit will produce while BBCWW will distribute the series globally.

Professor Brian Cox will host Wonders of Life. The series will examine the story of life through physics, and will air on CCTV-9 in winter 2012.

Universal Channel has picked up the broadcast rights to US crime drama Breakout Kings while Chinese VOD service Shanghai Joy Network, one of the country’s largest online content providers, picked up major international series Titanic from distributor ITV Studios Global Entertainment. Other new buyers including Mediacorp’s Okto TV in Singapore, TV Azteca in Mexico, SBS-owned Veronica in the Netherlands, VRT in Belgium and BBC Entertainment in Africa.

Toronto-based Cinemavault picked up rights to 12-part action-fantasy series, The Savage Tales of Summer Vale. Cinemavault’s Managing Director, John Dunstan, and its Director of Canadian & International Sales, Simon Howe, negotiated the deal with producers Brigitte Kingsley and Mihkel Harilaid of Decade Distribution.