Fremantle buys ‘This England’ outfit Passenger, expands team in US & UK

This England

Fremantle has acquired This England producer Passenger and expanded its team in the US and the UK.

The company, which was launched by Richard Brown in May 2019 with the backing of Fremantle in an exclusive multi-year deal, will now sit within Fremantle’s Global Drama division led by Christian Vesper.

Brown will now undertake a creative role across the scripted division, working on development and production of TV and film projects.

Passenger will also expand its team in New York, LA and London. Caitlin Bruner, who previously worked at Noah Hawley’s 26 Keys, has joined as VP of development and Elise Swift has been promoted internally to the role of creative executive, with other hires set for the coming weeks.

The deal comes after the recent launch of This England on Sky in the UK, with the show subsequently sold around the world. The proco has also optioned Tess Gunty’s debut novel, The Rabbit Hutch, for adaptation, and produced a docuseries on the Basketball Africa League (BAL).

Prior to Passenger, Brown had a decade-long overall deal at Anonymous Content where he worked on shows such as HBO’s anthology series True Detective and Hulu’s Catch-22.

Brown said: “This is the natural evolution of our relationship; working closely together we’ll be able to increase our capacity to create compelling film and TV.”

Target tracking

Fremantle has been spending heavily of late as it looks to hit a €3bn ($3bn) annual revenue target by 2025, which was set by parent RTL Group last year.

Last month alone, it bought a 51% stake in America The Beautiful producer Wildstar Films, Israel’s Silvio Productions and 72 Films, whose output includes The Elon Musk Show.

Tthe company has also recently taken stakes in UK-based Element Pictures (Normal People), Dancing Ledge (The Responder), Italian scripted production company Lux Vide (Devils, Leonardo), Fabel (Bosch) and Australian-American firm Eureka Productions (Parental Guidance).

Other deals include UK unscripted production company Label1 (Hospital, Five Guys a Week, Soldier), as well as 12 production labels in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark from Nordic Entertainment Group (This is Nice Group).

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