Sky Italia to co-produce 'Medici'

BBC, Kudos also partnering on eight-part Renaissance epic

CANNES -- Rupert Murdoch's Italian pay-TV broadcaster Sky Italia announced its international drama co-production debut Monday, joining the BBC and Kudos Film and Television to develop "The Medici," an eight-part Renaissance epic about finance, corruption and power.

Kudos, part of Elisabeth Murdoch's Shine Group, will produce the show for the BBC working with Italian production company WildSide, while Sky Italia will have Italian rights to the lavish drama.

Scripted by Frank Deasy and Adrian Hodges, the story traces three generations of the Medici family -- Cosimo, Piero and Lorenzo -- and is set against the backdrop of 15th Century Florence.

In the era of such characters as Machiavelli, Michelangelo and Galileo, the tale follows the power struggles, violence and sexual intrigues of a banking dynasty that was behind an architectural and artistic rebirth that is still unmatched and went on to make the Medicis one of the most powerful families in Italian history.

"This deal marks our first step in the development of an international co-production project," said Nils Hartmann, Sky Italia Entertainment and Cinema Director. "We believe 'The Medici' is a series that has solid roots in Italian history and culture but appeals to a global audience."

The series will be executive produced for Kudos by Jane Featherstone and Derek Wax and is being developed with BBC Scotland executive Anne Mensah.
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