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Sky, ARD set up ‘pioneering’ German drama

Sky Deutschland and ARD are two of four partners attached to a German-produced crime thriller series that is being described as a “milestione” in the creation of big-budget series from the territory.

Babylon Berlin comes from Sky Deutschland, X-Filme, German pubcaster ARD and indie Beta Film. Based on books from Volker Kutscher, the high-end drama will follow a police inspector in a seedy 1920s Berlin.

German director Tom Tykwer (Perfume – The Story of a Murderer) has been signed up as showrunner. He developed the concept of a major German TV series aimed at the international market along with Hendrik Handloegten and Achim von Borries.

Shooting is scheduled for mid-2015, and will mark the first time Sky and ARD have coproduced a series. Beta will have international distribution rights.

Sky and ARD have said they believe the pay TV/free TV co-finance model could be repeated in future if successful.

“In order to realise this costly and intricate project, we wanted to try out a new form of cooperation with Sky, which could also be a viable model for the future,” said ARD chairman Lutz Marmor.

Sky Deutschland’s executive VP, programming called Babylon Berlin a “milestone” series. “It is not only our first in-vestment in a major German production, but also the closecooperation with ARD, a media company with a great reputation all over Europe, is just as important for us,” he said.

“The story is perfectly suited for our mission statement to offer our customers high-quality productions. It describes a very special place at a very special point in history.”

Babylon Berlin is a large-scale police thriller rich in details and with multifaceted characters embedded in a historical context that reflects present-day Germany and Europe in a surprising way,” added Twyker. “Genre cinema, epic breadth and political evidence-gathering come together in a unique manner in this meticulously detailed and thrilling story.”

Sascha Schwingel and Carolin Haasis are story editors for ARD Degato, while
Gebhard Henke and Marcus Ammon do the same for ARD sister pubcaster WDR and Sky Deutschland, respectively.