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CANNES — Temple Street Productions and Canada’s Space channel insist they have another Orphan Black on their hands.
Canada’s Space channel has given indie producer Temple Street a 10-episode order for Killjoys, an interplanetary bounty-hunter drama created and written by Michelle Lovretta (Lost Girl), ahead of a 2014 debut.
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The acquisition follows Temple Street producing the Tatiana Maslany starrer Orphan Black, a sci-fi clone thriller that came from left field to become a hit for BBC America stateside.
“Orphan Black is a tremendous success for us, so our hope would be that [Killjoys] will equal that success within Canada, the U.S. and internationally,” Temple Street executive producer and co-president Dave Fortier told The Hollywood Reporter from Cannes while attending MIPCOM.
Killjoys is a character-driven drama like Orphan Black, but the new series is set in a distant galaxy where bounty hunters, or killjoys, are licensed to pursue a vast range of warrants.
Their mission proves impossible and near fatal for Dutch, a gorgeous and deadly killjoy at the top of her game, while her partner, John the Bastard, is a peacemaker who hates conflict.
Catherine MacLeod, senior vp specialty channels at Bell Media, said Killjoys will appeal just as much to genre fans as it will to other TV viewers attracted to complex character-driven dramas.
“It’s not just an outer-space show that will appeal to all the genre geeks. There’s a story there, a love triangle, and the dialogue is amazing,” MacLeod said of the script written by Lovretta.
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She added that the main Dutch character in Killjoys, still to be cast, has the potential to produce a breakout performance like Maslany delivered in Orphan Black.
“I’m hoping that it will attract actresses from the across the board,” MacLeod said.
Bell Media, which airs Orphan Black on its Space channel, brought Killjoys to Temple Street after it was developed by the Canadian broadcaster in-house and received a first-season order.
“I think one of the reasons that Michelle and Space wanted to work with us is we’ve had success with this type of show in Orphan Black,” Temple Street executive producer and co-president Ivan Schneeberg added.
Temple Street is looking for foreign partners to co-produce Killjoys, including a U.S. prebuy.
Orphan Black has BBC Worldwide as its international distributor, on top of BBC America as the U.S. broadcaster. Fortier expects similar international backing for Killjoys.
“We’re starting those conversations right now,” he said from MIPCOM.
Besides Orphan Black and Killjoys, Temple Street is known for its factual series and format adaptations like Recipe to Riches, Canada’s Next Top Model and How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?
Space-parent Bell Media has also had Canadian primetime success of late with shows like Amazing Race Canada, the cop drama Motive, which also airs on ABC, and Masterchef Canada.
Killjoys is executive produced by Lovretta, Fortier and Schneeberg.
Lovretta is represented by Jeff Alpern of The Alpern Group, who brokered the Bell Media and Temple Street deals.
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