Happy Friday everyone and welcome to International Insider, your weekly guide to everything you need to know about global cinema and television. Jake Kanter with you this week. Do you have any comments or a story? I am on [email protected] or my MDs are open on Twitter. And sign up here to get this content delivered to your inbox every Friday.
The billion dollar pandemic problem
One great thing to know this week: It’s been about a year to the day since the coronavirus shut down film and TV sets around the world, and we now have a clear picture of what that has meant for the finances of some of the biggest production groups of the world. The story is unsurprisingly grim after ITV Studios, Fremantle, and Red Arrow Studios all reported income in the past seven days. The producers behind Love island, American Idol, and Love is blind nearly $ 1 billion wiped out their combined income in 2020 due to the pandemic, while their collective profits fell by $ 232 million. These numbers will only increase as more international producers reveal their financial data. A sobering thought at a time when television production should be booming.
International Insider: EFM Wrap; Interview with Harry and Meghan; Dominos Wobble Festival; BBC Three is back
ITV’s Morgan Vs Markle Mess
Tears for Piers? British breakfast foghorn Piers Morgan is out of work after a crazy week. It all happened within hours, as the former CNN presenter firmly bent a global report on Meghan Markle in her direction with inflammatory comments about the Duchess of Sussex’s sanity. Morgan said he didn’t believe Markle when she revealed her royal experience left her feeling suicidal during her interview with CBS Oprah Winfrey. The comments sparked 41,000 complaints with UK media regulator Ofcom (the most for a single show in nearly 15 years), while representatives for Markle also voiced their displeasure to ITV.
The critical point: Sources say ITV wanted Morgan to apologize. He refused and walked. An insider told us, “He was definitely pushed. Pushed into this [ITV content boss] Kevin [Lygo] agreed he should leave. Another person added that there had been “collective burnout” at ITV because of the constant controversy created by Morgan. Her last show on Tuesday was watched by nearly 1.3 million viewers, which means she’s edged out BBC breakfast for the first time in seven years of history. “This was due to the hard work and dedication of the whole team,” Morgan said in a thank-you tweet. “They don’t all agree with me, some don’t even like me, but we were a team… and we won.”
And now for Morgan: Speculation is common that the presenter will not run out of offers after ITV. Discovery-backed news channel GB News is said to be an admirer of Morgan and has shown she’s willing to spend money on talent ahead of its launch later this year, hiring names including the former BBC presenter Andrew Neil. Rupert Murdoch is also considering launching a British news channel, named News UK TV, and Morgan would sign a statement. Led by David Rhodes, a former CBS and Fox News executive, the channel contacted Morgan last year, according to the Financial Times. A source told us that a return to ITV should not be ruled out either: “The clock is ticking on his return. All the golden odds for a business looking for massive profit loss. “
And now for ITV: This was supposed to be a week in which ITV took advantage of the glow of having exclusive UK rights to a huge royal scoop. Instead, he was embroiled in a controversy on his own and around £ 200million ($ 278million) was wiped from market value the day after Morgan’s departure was announced. Beat BBC breakfast was a highly symbolic moment, given that the various incarnations of ITV’s morning show have been heavily battered by the BBC over the past decade or more. It is also potentially lucrative, with advertisers appreciating the types of audiences Hello Great Britain is able to shoot. ITV’s job then is to protect the gains made by Morgan – gains that have already slipped in his absence (Breakfast had a lead of 600,000 viewers GMB Thursday). Putting another big personality in the hot seat could be the way to go and there is already speculation who it could be. The Sun reported today that wacky lawyer Rob Rinder could be a good bet, not least because he’s buddies with GMB Susanna Reid anchors. Read all of our Morgan coverage here.
Netflix goes big: Netflix stole the show from virtual EFM with great deals on films including Dev Patel star Monkey man – which we revealed a few minutes ago – The pale blue eye, Operation Mincemeat, and The ice road. As we first told you, streamer’s $ 55 million pact for thriller Christian Bale Pale blue eye set an EFM record, while the US agreement for The ice road was a national record at the Berlin meeting. Independent buyers have also managed to get their hands on some of the biggest properties, including Paul WS Anderson’s Fantastic Adventure. In the lost lands, with Milla Jovovich and Shailene Woodley pic Panopticon. There are also more deals going on some of the bigger titles. Overall, it has been an active and productive market. Check out our full coverage here.
What a difference a year makes: BAFTA received praise on Tuesday for pulling the curtain down on arguably the most diverse set of film nominations in its 74-year history. That’s a far cry from the #BaftaSoWhite howler of 2020 and represents the fruits of a seven-month review, which has seen changes, including increasing the four actor categories and the best director category to six nominees. Discover the nominations in full here.
Some facts about diversity: Some 21 of the 24 performers in the acting categories are nominated for the first time, while 15 are from under-represented groups. In a first BAFTA, four women were nominated in the director category. There was also a strong showing of British films, three of which were in the Best Picture category. “This is such a refreshing list and represents a real change,” BAFTA President Krishnendu Majumdar told my colleague Diana Lodderhose.
Films leading the pack: Nomadland and Rocks both won seven nominations each, including names for filmmakers Chloé Zhao and Sarah Gavron in the Best Director category. Four films won six nominations: The father, Mank, Minari, and Promising young woman. Excavation and Mauritanian won five nominations each.
Something to chew for 2022: With many great American films being held up due to Covid and voters only being able to watch films at home, the pandemic likely played a role in the very different lineup of nominees this year. Next year should offer a better idea of how long the voting change will last.
🌶️ Hot one of the week: Natalie Portman and Lupita Nyong’o to star in limited-edition adaptation of Laura Lippman’s book Lady in the lake for Apple TV +. Its dark materials the Bad Wolf company is co-producing. Peter White had the story.
🌶️ Another hot: The BBC and Amazon have signed up The crown Claire Foy and WandaVision star Paul Bettany to headline the long-awaited second season of A very English scandal. It focuses on a 1963 sex scandal involving Margaret Campbell, the Duchess of Argyll. Go further.
🌶️ One more: Sensation Netflix Bird box is developing with a fallout in Spanish. The film will reunite Netflix with producers Dylan Clark and Chris Morgan, but it will also have a distinctively Spanish flavor. Whole story.
🍿 International ticketing: From Disney Raya and the last dragon didn’t really come roaring out the door at the international box office with $ 17.6 million in 32 markets. The world arc, including the domestic launch, was $ 26.2 million. Nancy Tartaglione has the details.
🏆 Awards News: The African American Film Critics Association has published its annual list of recipients of the 12th AAFCA Awards, with Judas and the Black Messiah (photo above) getting the best picture. Amanda N’Duka with the story.
🏆 Rewards News 2: Michaela Coel’s BBC / HBO Series I can destroy you was the big winner of the UK’s Broadcasting Press Guild Awards on Friday. Our report.
✍️ Line of International Critics: Todd McCarthy has now seen all 15 nominees for Best International Feature Film for the Oscars. That list will be reduced to five films next week. “It was, for the most part, empowering to meet so many fresh voices from the often little-heard realms of the film world,” said McCarthy. Read his full report here.
🚚 Moving: Tom Toumazis, former Disney and Endemol Shine executive, will become non-executive chairman of Snipple Group, the Philippines-based animation studio that has worked on series including Where’s Waldo?. More here.
📺 One to watch: Michelle Obama’s cooking show for children Waffles + Mochi lands on Netflix on March 16. Here is a taste.
☀️ Sundance is heading east: The Sundance Film Festival arrives in Asia in 2021. The Park City event will kick off a new offshoot in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta at the end of the summer. Tom Grater has the details.
🎦 Trailer dashboard: Now we suck the diesel! The BBC has released the first full trailer for Season 6 of its hit police corruption drama Course of action. Watch it here.
Play your notes correctly: ITV CEO Carolyn McCall has revealed there have been virtual office ratings draws for her broadcast of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey. She wouldn’t be drawn to his guess, but one suspects that even if she was far off the mark, she’ll be happy with the actual outcome. A whopping 13.5 million people tuned in to the two-hour special (including ITV Hub streams), with a 24-hour delay and a flood of headlines apparently increasing Britons’ appetite for the bomb drop of the Sussexes. McCall believes ITV will recoup all of its reported £ 1million investment in the CBS special. No doubt about it, Meghan and Harry are at the box office.
Andreas Wiseman contributed to this week’s International Insider.