ITV Global hops to Monkey Kingdom

Exclusive deal supports Monkey's push into drama

LONDON -- Commercial web ITV's production and distribution division ITV Global Entertainment has sealed a development and distribution deal with British indie production banner Monkey Kingdom, the parties said Thursday.

The deal, described by the two as exclusive, will see the ITV division back Monkey's push into drama with support for a development slate of projects for U.K. and international broadcasters. The two will handpick projects on a case-by-case basis to work on.

No financial details were disclosed, and ITV declined comment on the time frame for the arrangement.

Monkey managing director David Granger said the deal with ITV is a sound commercial move.

"Whilst many bemoan the fact the scripted world is going through a difficult stage, to us it feels more like the time's right for a new creative and commercial approach," Granger said.

ITV Global Entertainment director of acquisitions and co-productions Emmanuelle Namiech said the link up with the independent producer label is vital in the current climate "to bring scripted content to the widest audience possible."

Monkey recently secured an option on an undisclosed Kurt Vonnegut title with international possibilities.

Monkey produces scripted, factual and entertainment programs for broadcasters here and in the U.S. The indie label will still continue to make content outside the deal with ITV for other broadcasters.

Recent U.S. commissions include "My Kind of Town" for ABC America, "Man Vs Cartoon" for Tru TV and "Make My Day" for TV Land.

Shows here include "The Charlotte Church Show" and "Prince Charles' Other Mistress" for Channel 4, "Swinging" and "Best Friend Rehab" for Five, "Elton John: Me Myself and I" and "The Passions of Girls Aloud" for ITV. It has also made "Sound" and "Young, Dumb and Addicted to Mum" for the BBC.

ITV Global Entertainment is an integrated part of ITV Global Content, led by former Fox Networks and ABC exec Lee Bartlett.