Studiocanal Takes Full Control of 'Pillars of the Earth' Producer Tandem

ES - THR - Bauer - H - 2016
Jeremy Jackson

Studiocanal buys out the minority stake in the German production group behind 'Pillars of the Earth' and the upcoming series 'Shadowplay.'

French media giant Studiocanal has taken full control of German production company Tandem Productions, buying out the remaining shares in the Munich-based group behind such TV productions as the Emmy-nominated miniseries Pillars of the Earth and the upcoming period crime drama Shadowplay, starring Taylor Kitsch.

The deal, announced Tuesday by Studiocanal CEO Anna Marsh, sees the French group buy out the minority share in Tandem, controlled by partners Rola Bauer, Tim Halkin and Jonas Bauer. Studiocanal took a majority stake in the company in 2012, rebranding it StudiocanalTV/Tandem Productions.

Rola Bauer, who co-founded Tandem with Halkin in 1999, will stay connected to Studiocanal via a non-exclusive consulting deal.

As a boutique producer of high-end television series, Tandem pioneered the international co-production model, now widely used, whereby networks from different countries co-finance a series that they would be unable or unwilling to bankroll on their own. Tandem used the model to produce epic miniseries including medieval period drama The Pillars of the Earth and its sequel World Without End, as well as longer-running series such as pan-European crime procedural Crossing Lines, starring Donald Sutherland. 

After Studiocanal's initial investment in Tandem, Rola Bauer was promoted to head of Studiocanal's international television division, overseeing international operations for production companies the French group owns or has an equity stake in, including British outfits RED, Guilty Party, Urban Myth and Final Twist and Benedict Cumberbatch's SunnyMarch shingle.

Upcoming productions on Tandem's slate include the 12-episode dramedy On the Verge, written by and starring Julie Delpy and Elisabeth Shue, and Shadowplay, from The Bridge writer Mans Marlind.

"Upping our stake will benefit the continued growth of our global television production and distribution businesses," Marsh said, commenting on the buyout. "Rola is an excellent partner and incredibly talented executive and has strongly contributed to the development of Studiocanal TV over the past eight years. On behalf of Studiocanal, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Rola for her hard work and tremendous dedication."

Added Bauer: "My aim has always been to enlighten and entertain through television that transcends the boundaries. Founding this company over 20 years ago and further building it, together with Studiocanal and the fantastic teams in Munich, Paris and London, led by Anna Marsh, has been an inspiring experience.... There has never been a better time to be in the international content business, creating and connecting platforms for our future economic recovery. [I'm] very much looking forward to opening a new chapter."