Berlin: HBO Europe to Produce Original Drama Series for Scandinavia

'Burning Bush'

Based on true events, the three-part HBO miniseries chronicles the emotional fallout from history student Jan Palach's self-immolation to protest Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia. The docudrama is directed by Agnieszka Holland

The company is in talks with producers to develop content to air on its HBO Nordic service.

HBO Europe will begin producing original drama series in Scandinavia as it expands its originals push beyond its four Eastern European territories of Poland, Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary.

Antony Root, HBO Europe's executive vp original programming and production, said Monday in Berlin that the company was now in talks with Scandinavian producers to begin producing original drama series for its HBO Nordic service. In common with its approach across Europe, HBO Europe will set up a local production hub to hire local writers to produce content for the region.

The move comes just weeks after HBO CEO Richard Plepler announced similar plans for Spain.

Root, who mentioned the plans during a panel discussion at the European Film Market, told The Hollywood Reporter that the strength of original television shows across Scandinavia offered HBO a chance to further diversify what it offers subscribers.

"Differentiation is really important," said Root. "We are talking about working in a region that has excelled in original drama production. We have to look carefully at the type of programming we develop."

The company will look at original drama "across the genres," including crime, for which Scandinavian TV television channels have become famous in recent years.

"We believe there is an HBO approach to all the different genres, so to say that we would not do crime would be foolish. There is probably a crime series and writer that could look at a crime show in a unique HBO way," Root explained.

In sync with HBO Europe's approach in central and Eastern Europe, the company will seek a strong local partner to work with in developing and producing originals.

HBO Europe has gained a reputation in central and Eastern Europe for producing cutting-edge TV with such drama series as Romania's crime thriller Umbre, Agnieszka Holland's miniseries Burning Bush in the Czech Republic and Polish thriller Wataha (The Pack).