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Exclusive: Reliance pacts with CAA to fund US network dramas

India’s Reliance, whose investments include DreamWorks and a string of Hollywood development deals including Imagine Entertainment (Arrested Development), is investing in US network drama, TBI has learned.

Motion Picture Capital, Reliance’s London-based finance arm, is putting up half the $120 million production cost of two US drama series, both of which should start shooting this autumn. One – a 24-style action thriller — is being packaged with a big Hollywood actor. The other is a drama series with international elements. Both are with major US networks. MPC hopes to fund three big budget drama series a year from now on.

Hollywood talent agency CAA is packaging both TV shows. Reliance already has a string of development deals with CAA clients including Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

Marc Rosen, a former executive with Harry Potter producer David Heyman, is spearheading Reliance’s push into TV through Los Angeles-based Georgeville Television.

Leon Clarance, CEO of Motion Picture Capital, says his strategy is to develop shows that will go straight to a 13 episode order rather a costly pilot. NBC recently went straight to series with Gaumont International Television’s Hannibal with no pilot.

Clarance says: “What we are doing is part of a broader convergence between film, TV and gaming and it’s because of this coming together that MPC is covering these three areas. Reliance is already very active in TV in India.”‘

MPC is also developing a US-friendly version of cult 70s science fiction show Blake’s 7. BSkyB was planning to remake the series, which was created by Terry Nation and ran on the BBC between 1978 and 1981, but then dropped the idea. CAA and Georgeville are looking for a showrunner and writer for this new version, which is being developed with rights holder B7 Productions.