Tag Archives: Adi Hasak

Eyes on Adi

Based on Norwegian drama Øyevitne, Eyewitness explores a grisly crime from the point of view of the witnesses. When two innocent teenaged boys secretly meet up in the forest, they bear witness to a shooting and barely escape with their lives. Desperate to keep their relationship a secret and in fear of being found by the perpetrator, they remain silent – but soon learn that when you witness a horrible event it changes everything, forever.

Creator Adi Hasak tells DQ why he was intimidated by the original series, how he adapted it for US audiences and why he believes showrunners must become more entrepreneurial as he looks to Europe for new series ideas.

Eyewitness is produced for USA Network by Universal Cable Productions and is distributed by NBCUniversal International TV Distribution.

tagged in: , , ,

Buyers stick to the scripted in Mipcom

The sequel to Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit was screened in Cannes
The sequel to Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit was screened in Cannes

The Japanese have a good strike rate when it comes to exporting animation and entertainment formats. But they have struggled with drama. There are a few reasons for this but, when it comes down to it, the core problem is that scripted shows that work in Japanese primetime don’t travel that well.

The country’s leading players want to do something about this because the revenues they are generating from the domestic media market aren’t as strong as they used to be. So now they are looking at formats and coproductions as ways of building up their international profile and generating a new revenue stream. They are also starting to ask themselves if there is a way of making shows that can tap into the world drama zeitgeist that has propelled Korean, Turkish, Nordic and Israeli drama around the globe.

There were a couple of examples of the way Japan is seeking to shift its mindset at the Mipcom market in Cannes this week. One was a deal that will see Nippon TV drama Mother adapted for the Turkish market by MF Yapim & MEDYAPIM. The new show will be called Anne and will air on leading broadcaster Star TV. It’s the first time a Japanese company has struck this kind of deal in Turkey.

Also this week, Japanese public broadcaster NHK screened Moribito II: Guardian of the Spirit, an ambitious live-action fantasy series based on the novels of Nahoko Uehashi – likened by some to JRR Tolkien’s epic The Lord of the Rings.

Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria
Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria

Produced in 4K and HDR, this is the second in a planned trilogy of TV series, the first of which consisted of four parts. The show has been attracting interest from channel buyers beyond Japan’s usual sphere of influence, suggesting the country may be starting to have the kind of international impact it wants.

Interestingly, NHK brought the actor Kento Hayashi to Cannes to help promote the Moribito franchise. Hayashi also starred in Netflix’s first Japanese original, Hibana, another scripted show that has captured the attention of audiences and critics around the world.

Away from Japanese activity, companies that had a good week in Cannes included ITV Studios Global Entertainment, which said its hit period drama series Victoria has now sold to more than 150 countries, including new deals with the likes of Sky Germany, VRT Belgium and Spanish pay TV platform Movistar+. It also sold comedy drama Cold Feet – renewed for a new season in 2017 – to the likes of NPO Netherlands, ITV Choice Africa, Yes in Israel, TV4 Sweden and NRK Norway.

Further evidence of the appeal of lavish period pieces came with the pre-sales buzz around Zodiak Rights’ Versailles, which is going into its second season. At Mipcom, the show was picked up by a range of broadcasters and platforms including BBC2 (UK), Amazon Prime (UK), C More (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland), DirecTV (Latin America) and Movistar+.

Timeless
Timeless was picked up by Channel 4

Moving beyond period pieces, other shows that cut through the promotional clutter included Sony Pictures Television (SPT)’s time-travel drama Timeless, which sold to the UK’s Channel 4 to air on its youth-skewing E4 network. The show was also picked up by the likes of OSN in the Middle East, Fox in Italy, AXN in Japan, Viacom 18’s Colors Infinity in India and Sohu in China.

SPT also sold new sitcom Kevin Can Wait to Channel 4 in the UK, though perhaps the most interesting Sony-related story at Mipcom was the news that its international television network group AXN has joined forces with Pinewood Television to a develop a slate of six TV drama projects.

The series will be financed in partnership between Sony Pictures Television Networks and Pinewood Television. The plan is for them to air on AXN channels in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe, with a programming emphasis on high-impact action, crime and mystery. The deal was brokered by Marie Jacobson, executive VP of programming and production at SPTN, and Peter Gerwe, a director for Pinewood Television.

Midnight Sun
StudioCanal thriller Midnight Sun

Jacobson said: “As we look for alternative paths to expand original series development, Pinewood TV make for the ideal partners. We are look forward to developing projects with them that play both in the UK and on our channels around the world.”

Other high-profile dramas to attract buyer attention at the market this week included StudioCanal’s Swedish-French eight-hour drama Midnight Sun, picked up by ZDF in Germany, SBS in Australia, HOT in Israel and DR in Denmark.

Distributor FremantleMedia International licensed its big-budget series The Young Pope to Kadokawa Corporation in Japan, while Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution licensed The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story to French pay TV operator Canal+.

Another show that enjoyed some success this week was DRG-distributed The Level, a six-part thriller that was picked up by ABC Australia, UTV in Ireland, TVNZ in New Zealand and DBS Satellite Services in Israel, among others. Produced by Kate Norrish and Polly Leys, joint MDs of Hillbilly Films, the show follows a reputable cop with a secret that is about to unravel. The show has previously been picked up by Acorn Media Enterprises for the US market.

Jude Law in The Young Pope
Jude Law in The Young Pope

Reiterating the growing interest in non-English drama, Global Screen enjoyed some success with Rivals Forever – The Sneaker Battle, which tells the true story of how brothers Adi and Rudi Dassler set up Adidas and Puma. France Télévisions acquired free TV rights and will air the series in early 2017 on France 3, while Just Entertainment in the Netherlands has landed video, pay TV and VoD rights. Other buyers included DR (Denmark), FTV Prima (Czech Republic), LRT (Lithuania) and HBO Europe (for Eastern Europe).

Turkish drama successes included Mistco’s sale of TRT period drama Resurrection to Kazakhstan Channel 31. Eccho Rights also sold four Turkish dramas to Chilean broadcaster Mega. The four shows were all produced by Ay Yapim and include the recent hit series Insider. This continues a good run of success for Turkish content in the Latin American region.

While Mipcom is fundamentally a sales market, its conference programme is also a useful way of tuning into international trends and opportunities in drama. There was an interesting keynote with showrunner Adi Hasak, who has managed to get two shows away with US networks (Shades of Blue, Eyewitness) in the last three years despite having no real track record with the US channel business. He believes the current voracious demand for ideas has made this possible: “This is a small business, where everyone knows everyone. If you create material that speaks to buyers, they will respond.”

Participant Media CEO David Linde also talked about the way his company is starting to extend its influence beyond film into TV and social media. Known for movies like An Inconvenient Truth, Food Inc, Snitch and Spotlight, the firm’s expansion into TV will see a new series about journalists breaking stories, developed by the team behind Oscar winner Spotlight.

tagged in: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Eyes on the prize: USA Network reworks Nordic noir

Norwegian thriller Øyevitne gets a US makeover when Eyewitness launches on USA Network. DQ speaks to showrunner Adi Hasak about translating the original series for a new audience.

It’s fair to say that US adaptations of international dramas have a less than stellar success rate.

It’s a fact that hadn’t escaped Adi Hasak when he pitched Eyewitness, a 10-part drama based on Norwegian series Øyevitne that debuts on USA Network on October 16.

Adi Hasak
Adi Hasak

“I was very aware of the rate of success translating a format,” he admits. “The only one that’s really worked is Homeland, which is based on [Israeli prisoner-of-war thriller] Hatufim, but they’re two separate shows. Short of comparing the premise, they’re very different.

“The one thing we have is an extraordinary format. It was absolutely spectacular and the story is so good. So early on, I decided three things: to be true to the format, to be smart enough to adapt it for an American audience and to make it mine.”

The story begins when two teenage boys meet up in a forest, only to witness a shooting. Desperate to keep their relationship a secret and in fear of being found by the gunman, they remain silent while the local sheriff clashes with the FBI in her attempts to find the killer.

Ordered straight-to-series by USA, it is produced by Universal Cable Productions (UCP) and distributed by NBCUniversal.

“What I loved about it was there are two tentpoles to the show – a boy coming out and searching for his identity and the local sheriff who has come to this small town and is looking for her own identity,” Hasak explains. “The other thing that was remarkable is, five minutes in, the audience knows who the killer is, so this is not a whodunnit. We know exactly who the killer is.”

Showrunner Hasak, who has written all 10 episodes, Americanised the story by simplifying several plot points, such as including one biker gang instead of two and removing the police hierarchy found in Øyevitne.

But with dead space now to fill, he sought to spend more time with the characters and explore storylines that had only been hinted at in the Norwegian series – all of which made the writing process a very personal experience for Hasak.

“In the original, it’s alluded to the fact the sheriff was a detective in Oslo – but why did she move to this small town?” he says. “So I gave her post-traumatic stress disorder – she had a very bad experience as a cop in Buffalo where we set her backstory. I suffered from some of those same symptoms, serving in an Airborne unit in the 1980s in Lebanon, and being from Israel and surrounded by cycles of violence, I was extremely intrigued by how an act of violence affects people around it.

Julianne Nicholson
Julianne Nicholson as Sheriff Helen Torrance

“It became a very personal narrative for me and an experience unlike anything I’ve ever had before. But it was an intense few months. It was like writing a novel – 500 pages. It was both frightening and a remarkable experience.”

The challenge of making a thriller without a whodunnit element meant Hasak relied heavily on the original story, marking out three to five plot points in each episode he wanted to hit, but leaving room to make the story his own.

“It’s very important for me to be respectful to the original creator, Jarl Emsell Larsen, and I wasn’t just using the concept and running with it,” Hasak says. “I wanted to lean hard on a lot of what he had done but I wasn’t focused on the thriller and the murder. This really is a story about compassion, family and love. We had several conversations early on where I asked him why he had made several decisions. I told him some of the changes I had in mind. But once I went into the creative process, our communication came to an end.”

When it comes to adapting a foreign-language drama for the US, Hasak says there is the Homeland route, where producers take a show’s premise and make it their own, or the original can simply be translated into English. Eyewitness, he says, is a compromise that is extremely respectful of Øyevitne and yet isn’t intimidated by it.

The show centres on a pair of teenage boys who witness a murder
The show centres on a pair of teenage boys who witness a murder

“When I had to look for original things to do, I wandered back to Øyevitne and looked for clues,” he continues. “We give the sheriff a huge backstory with PTSD but in the original, it almost happens in passing. One character says to another, ‘Wasn’t she a cop in Oslo and something happened to her?” and it’s never discussed again. We wanted to look at that and find out why this big detective is suddenly in a small town. The flip side is her marriage. It was extremely important to me to make this a study of a marriage under the clouds of this thriller/mystery and a wife getting dragged into a case and away from her husband.”

Hasak is also the creator of Shades of Blue, the NBC crime drama starring Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta. And while that show has a cast of movie stars and is shot in Brooklyn, Eyewitness couldn’t be more different. Commissioned by USA from just the original format and a script, Hasak took the production to northern Ontario, where he had 77 days to film the series.

“A producer once told me that if you do this long enough, the Gods smile at you,” Hasak says. “That’s what happened – something very special happened on this shoot. It was extremely challenging because it was a lower-budget show but somehow we made it. When you’re limited you actually rise to the occasion and do your best work.

Eyewitness
Eyewitness is a remake of Norwegian series Øyevitne

“Julianne Nicholson [who plays Sheriff Helen Torrance] is simply an artist at the height of her creative powers and she’s an inspiration to the cast and crew. And the first two episodes were directed by Catherine Hardwicke [Twilight], who is one of those rare directors who is artistic and historically has worked extremely well with young actors. So we were sent to make this little thriller in northern Ontario and came back with this special, unique, character-driven show we think is going to do very well.”

With its closed-ended story, Øyevitne was a one-and-done – but Hasak believes Eyewitness can capitalise on the current trend for anthology series, meaning the show could run for many seasons.

“When I sold it to USA and UCP, I sold it as a crime anthology much like American Crime Story and American Horror Story,” he reveals. “Each year could be a huge story with an eyewitness. In America, we have a love of the voyeuristic nature of witnessing crime. You can go back to the movies Witness and Rear Window. If this show works as we hope it does, you know you’ll be seeing a show with an eyewitness but that will be the only thing it has in common [with the preceding season]. If there is a season two, I was thinking of setting it in an inner-city, so I think that’s the direction the franchise would go in.”

Whether Hasak would again write every episode is another matter. Admitting his wife wasn’t happy that he took on such an undertaking, he jokes that showrunning is definitely a job for more than one person.

“It’s a 24/7 job but it’s extremely rewarding,” he adds. “In features, the writer is a side note but in TV, it’s so different. Eyewitness has been the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. The writer in TV really does become the auteur of the show. That was always something I have looked forward to doing and it was a remarkable experience.”

tagged in: , , ,

Adi Hasak: An arresting new take on cop shows

Shades of Blue creator Adi Hasak tells Michael Pickard how he merged star power with bold storytelling to bring a fresh angle to the tried-and-tested cop drama

While crime dramas remain one of the most popular genres on television, the question for any new show is always the same: how can it stand out from the competition?

With Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta heading the cast and a storyline focusing on a New York cop who is forced to turn informant, it’s clear NBC felt Shades of Blue had a concept and the star power to help it compete in the schedules.

Lopez plays Harlee Santos, a single mother and an NYPD detective who is forced to work with the FBI’s anti-corruption task force to take down her boss, Lieutenant Matt Wozniak (Liotta), all while dealing with her own family and financial problems.

NBC’s faith ultimately paid off, as the series launched to more than eight million viewers in January and the US network quickly renewed the show for a second season after only five of the 13 episodes had aired.

But while Shades of Blue, which debuted on Wednesday in the UK on Sky Living, did enough to differentiate itself within a crowded genre, series creator Adi Hasak had to put aside some of his bolder story ideas and pen a show that played to popular tastes to get on the air.

Adi Hasak
Hasak: ‘It was time for me to get a show on the air’

With brutal honesty, Hasak admits: “It was time for me to get a show on the air. I was known as a guy who wrote very eclectic television shows. They were extremely well received to the extent that I was always working but unfortunately they were so eclectic that they were never put on the air. I like to say I was a writer that they loved in June when they bought my ideas but they never called me back in January when they picked up the shows.

“In the past, executives and heads of studios have always said to me, ‘Why can’t you write a lawyer show, a cop show or a doctor show?’ and I said it was because I just have zero interest. There’s nothing new to say about it.”

Determined to get a show on air, Hasak began to explore what new crime stories could be told and explored ideas of corruption – institutional corruption, personal corruption and how people fall into corruption.

“I don’t think anyone is born corrupt, it happens slowly and gradually,” he explains. “I was very much a student of the movies of the ’70s, of Serpico and so forth, and I decided to study corruption through the cop genre.

“What was interesting to me about the cop genre was that, overall, policemen are decent people and if they can fall into corruption, then any of us can.”

Hasak wrote the pilot script on spec and soon teamed up with Barry Levinson (Homicide: Life on the Street) to pitch the show to the networks, who had ideas of their own.

“I was asked at some point, ‘Why can’t we just make the corrupt cop an undercover FBI agent?’” he recalls. “And I said we couldn’t, that would undermine the entire show. That would mean she wouldn’t be corrupt. So I decided to stand firm and not change it.

“We had offers of getting it made if we made it like Donnie Brasco and if we made her an FBI agent from the beginning, but we stood fast.”

But once Lopez came onboard, the project took off. NBC went straight-to-series by placing a 13-episode order, and soon afterwards Liotta signed on.

Shades of Blue
NBC took Shades of Blue straight to series once Jennifer Lopez had signed up

The cast also includes Warren Kole as Santos’ FBI handler Special Agent Stahl, Drea de Matteo, Dayo Okeniyi, Hampton Fluker, Vincent Laresca and Sarah Jeffery.

Straight-to-series orders are becoming increasingly common, despite bypassing the traditional pilot system US networks continue to favour, and they come with many benefits for series creators.

“It’s a wonderful model in the sense that you know the show is being embraced and you have the opportunity to completely plot it out,” Hasak says. “It gives you a lot of time to prep. The only problem, which luckily I have not encountered, is if you go straight-to-series, there is no ability to tweak a show.

“Whether it’s creatively or with casting, there’s no hiatus between doing the pilot and testing it, which puts a lot of pressure on the executive producers and the showrunner to get everything right because there is no redo. There’s no shooting a character out and recasting a character once you’re locked into your cast. That’s who you’re going with. But it’s been really rewarding and wonderful, so this is a model we’re embracing and we welcome the opportunity.”

No tweaking was needed, however, as Lopez (who is also an executive producer) and Liotta both embraced the series and their characters.

Ray Liotta Shades of Blue
Hasak believes Ray Liotta gives an award-winning performance in the show

Hasak believes Liotta deserves Emmy recognition when the award nominations are announced today. And he says of actress-singer Lopez: “Jennifer was very hands-on in such a classy way because she’s a huge international star and she could have very easily come in and started throwing her weight around. But it was so nuanced, so beautiful. Her hand was in everything, from the music to the clothes they wore to the scripts. It could have been intimidating but she made us her partners and was involved in all aspects of the role.”

Another character ever-present in the series is New York City, and Brooklyn in particular, where the action is centred. Shades of Blue was always going to be set in a big city, which at first was Chicago, but the Big Apple won out.

“Everyone felt New York would be a wonderful setting for it, especially Brooklyn,” Hasak notes. “The other thing that was very important was diversity and setting it in a diverse precinct, and I’m really proud that, if you look at our cast, the cast majority is diverse. There have been network shows set in a cop station in New York and everyone’s white, so I think diversity was extremely important to Jennifer, as it was for the rest of us, and what was important was that it was authentic.

“If you look at cop shows that work, they all have to be authentic. Look at NYPD Blue, Homicide, The Wire – there just has to be a level of authenticity to the genre. You have to be able to smell the streets, so that became part of the conversation in New York, where Jennifer’s from. It immediately became clear we should make it in New York and everyone embraced it.”

Shades of Blue is produced by Universal Television, Nuyorican Productions, EGTV, Ryan Seacrest Productions and Jack Orman Productions. It is distributed worldwide by NBCUniversal.

Hasak was a co-showrunner on season one with Jack Orman but has stepped back from the forthcoming second season as he oversees post-production on USA Network’s Eyewitness, an adaptation of Norwegian drama Øyevitne. And he admits that showrunning is “the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.”

“The job of showrunner is a job five people should have. It’s extremely stressful. It’s being involved in production, post-production, prep and writing the scripts. It’s extremely challenging and at the same time extremely rewarding.

“Shades of Blue began with me in a room by myself. Barry Levinson came onboard, Jennifer Lopez came onboard, Ray Liotta came onboard and all of a sudden, this machine came together. It was amazing. It’s almost like an army coming together and going to battle – and the machine needs to be fed constantly by the scripts. So it was almost jaw-dropping for me to see it come together, and it was one of the highlights of what I’ve been doing for the last 15 years. It taught me what to do and what not to do and set me on course to be a showrunner on Eyewitness.

Shooting on season two began in June, with Breaking Bad and Gracepoint lead Anna Gunn joining the returning Lopez and Liotta in Brooklyn – another star name that adds weight to Hasak’s claim that Shades of Blue “is a huge network show.”

Viewers in the US will have to wait until early 2017 to find out how this story continues.

tagged in: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Scripted formats show writers’ double vision

Hardly a week goes by without some new development on the scripted format front. So here we explore 12 of the shows that have been adapted – successfully and unsuccessfully – for the US, and the writing teams behind them.

Where images have been included, the original series is on the left and its adaptation on the right.

Broadchurch-GracepointBroadchurch was a big hit for ITV in the UK when season one aired in 2013. It then sold around the world and was adapted by Fox in the US as Gracepoint, with the same lead actor (David Tennant). The UK version, which then had a moderately successful second season, was created and written by Chris Chibnall – who is now working on a third and final run before taking over on the BBC’s Doctor Who.

The 10-part US version was set up by Chibnall before being handed over to Anya Epstein and Dan Futterman, who wrote all of the remaining episodes except for number six (Jason Kim). Gracepoint was pretty well reviewed by critics and sold to other English-speaking markets. But it was not renewed after failing to secure a sizeable audience (average ratings were around 3.5 to four million).

Collision, created by UK writer Anthony Horowitz (Foyle’s War), attracted an audience of seven million when it aired on ITV in the UK during 2009. In November last year it was picked up by NBC as a 10-part series. Interestingly, Horowitz will be the showrunner for the US version, with CSI exec producer Carol Mendelsohn on board as partner. Mendelsohn is also exec producer of Game of Silence (see below), suggesting she is now regarded as a safe pair of hands for format adaptations after her many years working on CSI.

The original version of Collision comprised five episodes but Horowitz says he has no concerns about the project being extended because he believes the storyline will benefit from the extra episodes. Sometimes formats suffer from being stretched in this way.

Forbrydelsen-KillingForbrydelsen (The Killing) is a Danish series (DR/ZDF Enterprises) created by Soren Sveistrup. Active across three seasons, it became an international hit and made its star Sofie Gråbøl a household name. It was adapted by AMC in 2011 and has so far run to four seasons – despite being cancelled a couple of times along the way. It was saved by Netflix, which came on board as a partner for season three and then took over the show in its entirety for season four.

The US version was developed by Veena Sud, whose previous big credit was CBS procedural Cold Case. Sud shared writing duties with a large team, including the likes of Nic Pizzolatto (True Detective) and Jeremy Doner (Damages). She stayed with the show through season four, by which time writing duties were shared with Dan Nowak, Sean Whitesell, Nicole Yorkin and Dawn Prestwich (the latter two a writing team whose credits include Chicago Hope, FlashForward and The Education of Max Bickford).

Hatufim-HomelandHatufim, aka Prisoners of War, is perhaps the most celebrated example of a successful scripted format. Created in Israel by Gideon Raff, it was adapted as Homeland for Showtime in the US by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa. Five seasons of the US show have aired so far, with a sixth ordered in December 2015.

As is common with US series, there is a big team involved in writing a show like Homeland. The latest season of 12 episodes involved 11 writers altogether. Key names include Chip Johannessen, who has been involved with the show since the start. A new name on the season six team sheet was David Fury, who has worked on an array of titles ranging from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Hannibal.

Janus is proof that US networks are looking further afield in search of great ideas. A crime story originated in Austria, it was picked up by ABC last autumn. Kevin O’Hare, who has written pilots for ABC and Syfy, is adapting the thriller and writing the pilot. The original version was written by Jacob Groll and Sarah Wassermair.

Prior to this seven-part serial, Groll was best known for documentary The Sound of Hollywood, while Wassermair’s credits include musicals for children’s theatre. However, the pair have also been working together on ORF’s popular crime series Soko Donau.

JanetheVirginJuana La Virgen is a Venezuelan telenovela that was adapted for The CW network in the US as Jane the Virgin. The original was created by Perla Farias and the US version by Jennie Snyder Urman, whose writing efforts are supported by a large team (the show has 22 episodes per season).

As evident from the titles above, a lot of adaptations don’t get further than the end of their first season. So the fact that this one has just been greenlit for a third run is a notable achievement. Although season two ratings are down compared with season one, the show has settled into a stable 0.9 to one million range.

Revenants-ReturnedLes Revenants was hailed as evidence that French TV drama had become a force to be reckoned with. A hit for Canal+ in 2012, the format was snapped up by A&E in the US – where it was remade as The Returned. The French version (based on a film) was created by Fabrice Gobert, who then wrote the screenplay for season one with Emmanuel Carrere and Fabien Adda (with writing credits also going to Camille Fontaine and Nathalie Saugeon).

A second season was aired at the end of 2015, with Audrey Fouche joining Gobert and Adda as a key writer (also credited on one episode was Coline Abert). Despite being led by showrunner Carlton Cuse alongside Raelle Tucker (True Blood), the US version failed to secure a second-season renewal following lacklustre ratings.

Øyevitne is a Norwegian crime thriller that is being adapted as Eyewitness for USA Network. In the US it has received a 10-episode, straight-to-series order. The US version comes from Shades of Blue creator Adi Hasak, who wrote it and will serve as showrunner. The original series creator is Jarl Emsell Larsen, who will executive produce the US version.

The series explores a grisly crime from the point of view of the eyewitnesses, two boys involved in a clandestine gay affair. While the Nordics have been getting a lot of attention in recent times, this is actually the first Norwegian scripted show to be adapted for the US.

Penoza-RedWidowPenoza is a popular Dutch drama created by Pieter Bart Korthuis and Diederik van Rooijen for KRO-NCRV. The show has run for four seasons (2010-2015), with a fifth, commissioned in February, set to air in September 2017. The format was acquired by ABC in the US in 2012 and ran for one season during 2013 with the name Red Widow.

The US version performed poorly and wasn’t renewed, dropping from 7.1 million at the start of its run to 3.47 million at the end. That was a rare blip for writer Melissa Rosenberg, whose credits include the entire Twilight saga of movies, Showtime’s Dexter and Netflix hit series Jessica Jones.

RakeRake is an Australian television series that centres on a brilliant but self-destructive lawyer. It was created by Peter Duncan, who then shared writing duties with Andrew Knight across the first three series. A fourth season will be broadcast this year on ABC Australia.

The show was adapted for Fox in the US in 2013, with Peter Duncan at the helm of a writing team of five. However, the show didn’t rate well and was moved around the schedule before being cancelled.

ShamelessShameless: Company Pictures produced Shameless for Channel 4 in the UK before it was picked up as a format by premium pay TV channel Showtime. The UK version was the brainchild of Paul Abbott, who also wrote a number of episodes. Other high-profile names involved included Danny Brocklehurst, who is now enjoying some success with Sky1’s The Five. Another prominent writer among many was Ed McCardie (Spotless).

Abbott was involved in setting up the US version, which may explain why the show has been a success, with six seasons already being aired. Key names in terms of transitioning the show included John Wells (ER, The West Wing) and Nancy Pimental – both of whom are still heavily involved, alongside a team of five writers for the latest season. Interestingly, the last season of the UK version also used a team approach, with eight writers penning 14 episodes.

Suskunlar-GameofSilenceSuskunlar is a Turkish drama that first aired on Show TV in 2012 and was then sold in its completed form to 30 countries. It was written by Pinar Bulut, who has also written a number of projects with her husband Kerem Deren, including fellow international hit Ezel.

The show was picked up by NBC in the US and has just started airing under the title Game of Silence. The pilot for the US version was written by David Hudgins, whose credits include Everwood and Parenthood. The second episode was penned by Wendy West (The Blacklist and Dexter). Hudgins has expressed a desire to take the show on into a second season, but early ratings suggest that it will need to do better for that to happen. After attracting 6.4 million viewers for episode one, it dropped 39% to 3.9 million for episode two.

tagged in: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,