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Brit production giant ITV Studios is continuing its global buying spree, acquiring a majority stake in Cattleya, one of Italy’s leading television production companies and the creative force behind mafia dramas including Gomorrah, Romanzo Criminale and Netflix’s Suburra.
Cattleya was launched in 1997 by founder Riccardo Tozzi. who was joined by president and co-CEO Giovanni Stabilini and co-CEO Marco Chimenz. Producers and partners Francesca Longardi and Gina Gardini joined in 1999 and 2005, respectively. In 2010, the group created a commercials subsidiary, think|cattleya, with partner Monica Riccioni, a division that is now one of Italy’s top producers.
Cattleya has successfully made the shift from film (the company’s feature lineup includes such highlights as Cristina Comencini’s 2005 Oscar nominee Don’t Tell and Gabriele Salvatores’ I’m Not Scared, from 2003) to high-end TV, which is forecast to make up two-thirds of the company’s revenue by 2019. In addition to hits Gomorrah and Suburra, the company recently secured its first English-language series order, for Zero Zero Zero, a crime drama focusing on the global cocaine trade, which Sky and France’s Canal+ have commissioned. The series comes from the creative team behind Gomorrah, including writers Leonardo Fasoli and Roberto Saviano, together with director Stefano Sollima.
ITV is taking a deep dive into European drama. The Cattleya acquisition follows a similar buyout of France’s Tetra Media Studio (producers of Canal+’s Versailles) and increased investment in local-language fiction in ITV operations in Germany and Scandinavia.
As part of the ITV deal, Cattleya will retain full creative and production autonomy, and ITV Studios’ distribution arm, ITV Global Entertainment, will distribute Cattleya TV series where rights are available.
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