EXCLUSIVE: Luther creator Neil Cross has struck an exclusive overall deal with FremantleMedia. I hear that Cross, who has just finished the first season of BBC One and Hulu “pre-apocalyptic” crime drama Hard Sun with FremantleMedia-owned Euston Films, will be focused on producing series for U.S. and UK broadcasters.
The multi-year deal will see Cross work with Euston Films, established by former BBC drama exec Kate Harwood, and FremantleMedia North America, overseen by scripted chief Dante Di Loreto. FremantleMedia International will distribute Cross-penned titles to the global market.
It is the latest high-profile drama deal signed by the RTL-owned producer and distributor following a deal with American Gods creator Neil Gaiman (I understand it was signed before the Starz series lost showrunners Michael Green and Bryan Fuller).
Cross’ Hard Sun is set to launch in the new year. The series stars Agyness Deyn as Detective Inspector Elaine Renko and Jim Sturgess Detective Chief Inspector Charlie Hicks. The show follows the pair as they investigate the death of a hacker in London before stumbling on proof that the world is ending in five years. He told Deadline that the deal came off the back of the big-budget series. “FremantleMedia trusted me to go ahead and make this strange thing,” he said.
Cross previously created NBC’s John Malkovich-fronted drama Crossbones and had a two-year deal with Universal Pictures from 2012.
Euston Films Managing Director Harwood called Cross “one of the greatest storytellers in the industry” and was looking forward to creating more “distinctive” dramas. “He has an extraordinary ability in creating engaging and ambitious ideas with complex characters that audiences around the world have come to love.”
Di Loreto, President of Scripted Entertainment at FMNA, told Deadline that Cross was “one of the most articulate and passionate creators I’ve met.”
“It’s incredibly challenging to make a TV show and if you do it right it can be a long relationship so you want to make sure you’re doing it with someone who is passionate. You want to be selective about those people you’re choosing to work with and lead them get on with their creative vision,” he said.
Di Loreto said that the pair were already working on a couple of shows that it expects to reveal in early 2018. “Some projects are original works and some are adaptations but they all feature complex characters,” he added.
The former Chernin Entertainment President of Television, who worked on series including Glee and American Horror Story, also opened up about FMNA’s drama drive. He added that it is adapting more Gaiman-penned works for the U.S. markets, while the English author and comic book writer is also understood to be adapting other people’s works for the small screen.
Di Loreto is also responsible for History’s forthcoming drama The Breach: Inside the Impeachment of Bill Clinton, from The War Room creator RJ Cutler. He said that scripts for the the “spellbinding” show were coming in and that the political drama is likely to be released around the 20th anniversary of Clinton’s impeachment, which occurred in December 1998.