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[04/08/13 - 09:15 AM]
Sky Atlantic Announces Major New Drama Co-Production with Starz, "Fortitude"
The commission is part of Sky's commitment to increase investment in original British content by 50%, and by 2014.

[via press release from Starz]

There's never been a murder in FORTITUDE

Sky Atlantic announces major new drama co-production with Starz

13 x 60'

Sky Atlantic HD today (8th April 2013) announces its most ambitious drama commission to date, FORTITUDE, a 13-part drama co-production with US network Starz. FORTITUDE is a Fifty Fathoms / Tiger Aspect production, exclusively for Sky Atlantic in the UK and Starz in the USA. The drama is the first co-production between Sky and Starz, and forms part of Sky's continued investment in original content.

The series is written by Simon Donald (Low Winter Sun) and will be Executive Produced by Anne Mensah and Madonna Baptiste for Sky, Patrick Spence and Simon Donald for Fifty Fathoms and Tiger Aspect and Colin Callender for Starz. The series was commissioned by Anne Mensah for Sky Atlantic HD.

FORTITUDE is a place like nowhere else. Although surrounded by the savage beauty of the Arctic landscape, Fortitude is one of the safest towns on earth. There has never been a violent crime here. Until now.

In such a close-knit community a murder touches everyone and the unsettling horror of this crime threatens the future of the town itself.

Sheriff Dan Anderssen is the local Head of Police. Dan leads a world class search and rescue team but now finds himself investigating the brutal and shocking murder of a British research scientist. And he is forced to work alongside DCI Milton Caldwell, a British detective who's just flown into Fortitude. As the search for the killer proceeds and the list of suspects grows, each cop finds compelling reasons to mistrust the other.

And as the endless summer nights give way once more to the Arctic darkness this apparently idyllic community struggles to make sense of the murderous terror that's been let loose in its heart.

FORTITUDE joins a growing slate of original UK drama commissions for Sky Atlantic HD, which began with critically acclaimed mini-series HIT & MISS and recent detective thriller, FALCÓN. Following these, we have recently announced FLEMING (w/t) and THE TUNNEL. The commission is part of Sky's commitment to increase investment in original British content by 50%, and by 2014, Sky expects to invest £600 million a year in British programmes across its portfolio of channels.

About FORTITUDE, Anne Mensah, Sky's Head of Drama, said: "FORTITUDE is a dark and adult drama, which will sit perfectly alongside the wealth of high-end content that our customers have come to expect on Sky Atlantic. I'm thrilled to be teaming up with Starz on this, our most ambitious drama to date." Carmi Zlotnik, Managing Director of Original Programming at Starz, said: "FORTITUDE is another exciting project with Colin Callender that we are thrilled to collaborate with Sky Atlantic on to bring to the United States. Starz is known for larger than life, cinematic programming and we expect nothing less from this unique new series."

Patrick Spence, Executive Producer for Fifty Fathoms, said: "I have long dreamed of an opportunity like this - to make a show that is as ambitious as it is unique, and to do so with such unstinting and fearless backing. Simon and I are very lucky men indeed."

Executive Producer and Lead Writer, Simon Donald added: "Since Patrick and I pitched this project to Sky we've had nothing but full-throated, whole-hearted encouragement. Normally by now the brakes have been applied. This time they're telling us the shackles are off."

Colin Callender, Executive Producer for Starz commented: "FORTITUDE brings together a remarkably talented writing and producing team in Simon and Patrick. The series is a bold combination of genres and reflects Sky's and Starz's shared commitment to groundbreaking character based quality original drama. I am delighted to be part of this exciting project."

FORTITUDE will be shot on location later in 2013 and will transmit on Sky Atlantic HD in the UK and Starz in the USA in 2014. Casting will be announced in due course.

Notes to Editors:

About Sky

Sky is the UK and Ireland's leading home entertainment and communications company. Around 40% of all homes have a direct relationship with Sky through its range of TV, broadband and home telephony services. Sky is the UK's biggest investor in television content, investing more than £2.3 billion a year in channels such as Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Sky Arts, Sky Sports, Sky Movies and Sky News. Around two-thirds of Sky's content spend is invested in the UK and Sky is the fastest-growing source of investment in original British programmes. More than 30 million people watch Sky content each week. Alongside its commitment to offering customers a greater choice of high-quality content, Sky is a leading innovator. Customers enjoy total control and flexibility over their favourite TV through Sky+, watch TV on the move through Sky Go, and enjoy the best quality TV experience at home through High Definition and 3D. Sky distributes its content broadly over several platforms, including satellite, cable, IPTV, mobile and WiFi. NOW TV, Sky's second consumer brand, builds on the company's leadership in internet TV. Sky is also the UK's fastest-growing home communications company and favourite 'triple-play' provider of TV, broadband and home phone. Sky believes in making a wider contribution to the communities in which it operates by taking positive action on the environment, supporting grassroots sports and increasing access to, and participation in, the arts. Sky employs 23,000 people, has annual revenues of £6.8 billion and is estimated to support a £5.4 billion contribution to UK GDP. Sky is listed on the London Stock Exchange (BSY). www.sky.com/corporate

About Starz

Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) is a leading integrated global media and entertainment company with operating units that provide premium subscription video programming on domestic U.S. pay television channels (Starz Networks), global content distribution (Starz Distribution) and animated television and movie production (Starz Animation), www.starz.com. Starz Networks is a leading provider of premium subscription video programming through the flagship STARZ(R) and ENCORE(R) pay TV networks which showcase premium original programming and movies to U.S. multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, and telecommunications companies. As of December 31, 2012, STARZ and ENCORE serve a combined 56 million subscribers, including 21 million at STARZ, and 35 million at ENCORE, making them the largest pair of premium flagship channels in the U.S. STARZ(R) and ENCORE(R), along with Starz Networks' third network MOVIEPLEX(R), air over 1,000 movies monthly across 17 linear networks, complemented by On Demand and authenticated online offerings through STARZ PLAY, ENCORE PLAY, and MOVIEPLEX PLAY. Starz Distribution develops, produces and acquires entertainment content, distributing it to consumers globally on DVD, digital formats and traditional television. Starz Distribution's home video, digital media and worldwide distribution business units distribute original programming content produced by Starz, as well as entertainment content for itself and third parties. Starz Animation produces animated TV and movie content for studios, networks, distributors and audiences worldwide.

About Fifty Fathoms

At Fifty Fathoms, we focus our energy on the writer's vision above all else. We set out to create an environment in which writers can deliver their boldest work; and we will do whatever it takes to champion and protect the uniqueness of that vision. Fifty Fathoms are currently in development on scripts for the BBC, C4 and Sky, with writers including Ronan Bennett, Peter Bowker, Clara Brennan, Simon Donald, Bill Gallagher, Guy Hibbert, Robert Jones, Lucy Kirkwood, Graham Moore, Ashley Pharoah, Simon Stephens, Heidi Thomas, Jack Thorne and Craig Warner. Fifty Fathoms sits under the umbrella of Tiger Aspect and Endemol.

About Simon Donald - Executive Producer and Lead Writer

THE LIFE OF STUFF earned him both the Evening Standard Best Playwright Award and the London Critics Award for Best New Play when it was produced at the Donmar Theatre in 1993. In 2006, Simon wrote the thriller LOW WINTER SUN, which starred Mark Strong and won the RTS Award for Best Drama Serial, as well as nominations for a host of other awards. He has since gone on to write on the critically acclaimed mini-series WALLANDER as well as developing his own series THE DEEP for the BBC.

About Patrick Spence - Executive Producer

Patrick was until 2010 Head of Drama, BBC Northern Ireland, where he commissioned and executive produced the Bafta, RTS, WGA, BPG and Prix Europa Award winning serial OCCUPATION (Pete Bowker) and the Bafta, RTS and Sundance Film Award winning single film FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN (Guy Hibbert), as well as the Bafta nominated dramas HANCOCK AND JOAN (Rik Cottan), MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (David Nicholls) and MURPHY'S LAW (Russell Lewis). He also commissioned and developed the scripts for LINE OF DUTY (Jed Mercurio), which recently transmitted on BBC2, and TOP BOY (Ronan Bennett), which was made for C4. Before that, Patrick was Head of Development and Executive Producer, BBC in-house, where he commissioned WAKING THE DEAD and DOWN TO EARTH, co-commissioned (with Mal Young) HOLBY CITY and DOCTORS, and re-launched and executive produced SILENT WITNESS. His early credits include developing Five's first ever drama, the Bafta nominated series A WING AND A PRAYER (Matthew Hall); and his first job was as a script editor on CRACKER (Jimmy McGovern and Paul Abbott).

About Playground

PLAYGROUND is a film, television and theater production company based in New York that was founded in 2011 by the award winning producer and executive Colin Callender. Current productions include Stephen Poliakoff's DANCING ON THE EDGE (recently aired on BBC2), THE WHITE QUEEN (BBC/Starz) based on the novels by Philippa Gregory, MAGIC CITY (Starz) and DRACULA (NBC/Sky) starring Jonathan Rhys Myers. Playground is currently in pre-production with the six hour mini-series adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Booker Prize winning WOLF HALL for the BBC. On the theater front Callender is producing Nora Ephron's Broadway hit LUCKY GUY directed by George C. Wolfe starring Tom Hanks and the upcoming CASA VALENTINA by Harvey Fierstein. Prior to PLAYGROUND Callender was president of HBO Films was responsible for an array of award winning films and mini-series including Mike Nichol's ANGELS IN AMERICA, Tom Hooper's JOHN ADAMS and Gus van Sant's Cannes Film Festival Palme D'Or winner ELEPHANT. Before that he was managing director of the Primetime Television winning an Emmy for his nine hour television adaptation of the RSC's THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF NICHOLAS NICKELBY for Channel 4. Callender currently serves on the board of the NY Public Theater and is a trustee of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He is the winner of the WGA 54th Evelyn F. Burkey Award for services to writers, the Humanitas Award, the Geffen Distinction in Theater Award and was awarded the CBE for services to the UK film and television industries in the US.





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