MIPCOM: Viacom U.K. Studio Moves Into Scripted Content

Viacom executive Jill Offman - H - 2019

Jill Offman expands her role as managing director at Viacom International Studios for all English-speaking markets.

Viacom's Viacom International Media Networks unit said Wednesday that its Viacom International Studios (VIS) U.K. is moving into scripted development with five co-production projects being showcased at the MIPCOM market in Cannes. 

It also said that Jill Offman has moved into an expanded role as managing director at VIS for all English-speaking markets. She assumed management oversight of VIS U.K. in April, now adding content sourcing for Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

"The move into scripted development follows yesterday’s announcement that VIS U.K. is set to produce its first scripted kids’ show for Nickelodeon International, also spelling a significant step for VIS U.K. into the production of children’s programming," the company said.

So far, VIS U.K. has primarily produced factual content for Viacom’s U.K. networks, including Channel 5, MTV and Comedy Central. Earlier this year, it secured its first third-party commission in travel documentary series Trevor McDonald’s Indian Train Adventure for ITV.

"This is an incredibly exciting time in global drama, with an intensifying battle for the best talent, ideas and scripts," said Offman. "I’m delighted that VIS U.K. is joining the fray with these fantastic projects, and I’m looking forward to finding partners across English-speaking territories who share our passion for extraordinary stories."

The five scripted co-production projects the studio is debuting at MIPCOM are The Gold, an eight-episode hourlong limited serial telling the story of Britain’s biggest gold heist; Artemisia, a drama about "ambition, sex, politics and art, telling the never-before told story of the only female Renaissance artist"; Natalya, a crime thriller series based on the books by GD Abson; Sleepless and The Turkish Detective

Sleepless is described as a six-episode hourlong supernatural crime drama series based on the novels by James Nally, written by Rob Fraser (Tin Star) and Gillian Roger Park (Young Offenders) and produced and directed by Bruce Goodison (Born to Kill, Doctor Foster).

The Turkish Detective is a detective series set in modern-day Istanbul based on the Inspector Ikmen novel series by Barbara Nadel.

VIS U.K. was rebranded from Elephant House Studios in April and has doubled its output and revenue over the past two years. In 2018, it produced more than 100 hours of content for Viacom’s U.K. networks.