German Pay Channel Sky Deutschland Boards Tom Tykwer's Period Crime Series 'Babylon Berlin'

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Tom Tykwer

The “Cloud Atlas” director will adapt Volker Kutscher's best-selling crime novels, set in 1920s Berlin, as a limited TV series.

21st Century Fox's German pay-TV group Sky Deutschland has come on board Babylon Berlin, a high-end TV drama that Cloud Atlas director Tom Tykwer is developing.

Sky will co-finance the series, budgeted at around $34 million (€25 million) for an 8-10 episode season, together with German public broadcaster ARD. Just over half the budget will come out of Germany, with Sky expected to put up around $5.5 million (€4 million) and ARD $12 million (€9 million). The rest will be financed through international sales, which Beta Film is handling.

Babylon Berlin will be the first German production Sky Deutschland has ever done and is a clear sign the broadcaster is looking to emulate sister networks BSkyB (which co-produces Showtime's Penny Dreadful and NBC's Dracula) and Sky Italia (mafia drama Gomorrah) in investing in local, top-drawer drama. Initial plans would see Sky Deutschland have exclusive first-run rights to the new series, which would then be aired on ARD.

Babylon Berlin is based on the best-selling Gereon Rath novels by German writer Volker Kutscher. Set in 1920s Berlin, they follow Rath, a police detective who is transferred to Berlin and tries to solve crimes in a city torn by social and political upheaval in the years leading to Adolf Hitler's rise to power.

Tykwer began development on the series together with production partner Stefan Arndt and directors Achim von Borries (Love in Thoughts) and Hendrik Handloegten (Learning to Lie). Tykwer and Ardnt's Berlin-based production shingle X Filme will produce.

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