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Global Bulletin: Kathryn Richardson Returns to ViacomCBS in the U.K.

Variety — Jamie Lang

ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) has appointed Kathryn Richardson as VP of business and legal affairs for its U.K. operations. She will work out of the company’s London offices, reporting to senior VP, general counsel Sebastian Chames and incoming U.K. COO Sarah Rose.

Richardson will handle strategic oversight of VCNI’s legal and business affairs for the U.K., including managing legal risk and delivery across the company’s commercial strategy. She will also be responsible for ensuring the regulatory compliance of all content broadcast across the company’s U.K. networks.

The move is a homecoming for Richardson, who started her in-house legal career at MTV Europe 20 years ago. She joins the company from her current role as director of commercial rights and business affairs for legal, talent, digital and operations at the BBC.

“Kathryn has a fine-tuned understanding of broadcast legal processes and extensive knowledge in the media space, including previous experience with our iconic MTV brand,” said Chames in a statement. “She’ll play a key role in helping to grow the UK business in adherence to broadcast regulations across its wide and varied range of programming.”

“I am thrilled to be rejoining the ViacomCBS family at this point in its evolution,” added Richardson. “I have had an amazing experience at the BBC, working across a huge range of genres and challenges, but I’m ready to embrace this new opportunity and I’m really looking forward to working with many new and some familiar faces, as well as leading such a well-respected business and legal affairs team.”

FESTIVALS

Five projects, exploiting A.I., big data, blockchain and mobile apps, will compete for up to $600,000 in funding at the San Sebastian’s 2nd  Zinemaldia Startup Challenge, a competition for fledgling companies bringing new technological prowess to film and TV. Competitors include a British AI-Driven Video Editing Platform, Norway’s Compliance Management Solution, an A.I.-aided video editing web platform, and The Fifth Wall, a mobile app from Germany turning the spectator’s mobile into the phone of a series or film’s protagonist.

Further contenders take in Catalonia’s Cinesmart, employing big data to allow spectators to interact with the big screen via their own portable devices; and and the U.K.’s FilmChain, a digital collection service, tapping into Blockchain, for rights holders. Projects will be presented Sept. 25 at San Sebastian. The section’s winner is invited to establish offices at a Basque Country Business Innovation Center, sourcing up to €500,000 ($590,000) in the process.

DOCUSERIES

(Un)Well,” a new docuseries from Red Arrow’s Left/Right which takes a critical look at controversial wellness fads, will premiere on Netflix worldwide on Aug. 12.

With each of the series’ six episodes dedicated to one controversial trending treatment, the series promises an objective examination of the sometimes lauded, sometimes shunned practices. Topics covered by the series include apitherapy, essential oils, breast milk, extreme fasting, ayahuasca and tantric sex.

Left/Right’s Ken Druckerman, Banks Tarver, Anneka Jones and Erica Sashin are executives producer for the series. Other factual programming credits from the company include “The New York Times Presents,” “The Weekly” and “The Zoo.”

FORMATS

ITV Studios’ Armoza Formats has optioned three original formats to South African production company The TVSmiths for local adaptation: “Queens of Love,” “Double or Nothing” and “Guys in Disguise.”

“Queens of Love” sees a team of three drag queens support a hapless single, unable to find Mr. Right on their own. In each episode, the trio will accompany their participant on a series of dates with four potential suitors. Once the dates are finished, they will help decide which candidate was the best fit.

Developed by Armoza Formats, Studio Flam and NBA Productions, “Double or Nothing” is a studio game show in which teams of two select a challenge and a the challenger who must attempt it. Once the challenger has their go, the partners must decide if they can pull off a result twice as good. If they do they win cash, if not they go home empty-handed.

And “Guys in Disguise,” co-developed by Artza Productions, Armoza Formats and Roy Even Tov, is a dating program in which one single goes on a date with two secret admirers, both in disguise, resulting in a final decision based on qualities of character alone.

COMMISSIONS

Sky Crime has greenlit a second season of its true-crime series “How I Caught the Killer” from U.K. outfit Woodcut Media, scheduled for delivery this October.

Narrated by Rav Wilding and executive produced by Koulla Anastasi and Matthew Gordon, Season 2 is already in production. Continuing with the formula that lead to Season 1’s success, the series will explore difficult homicide cases using first-hand accounts from the detectives who worked them.

Sky director of program strategy Jamie Morris and scheduling controller Emily-Jayne Wilde commissioned Season 2 for the broadcaster. Meanwhile, Woodcut Media has also presold the new season to True Crime Network and A+E Networks Italy for the Crime + Investigation channel.

HISTORY SPECIALS

BBC One will broadcast two BBC Studios Events-produced special programs on Saturday, Aug. 15 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and honor those who served in the war’s Eastern theater.

VJ Day 75: The Nation Remembers” will broadcast live from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire where a remembrance commemoration will be held. Sophie Raworth will be in studio with guests who will discuss the significance of the anniversary, including veterans of the conflict. On site, Dan Snow will speak to those participating in the commemoration with Fergal Keane commentating on the event.

Following the service, the BBC will broadcast “VJ Day 75: The Nation’s Tribute” from Horse Guards Parade in London featuring a special tribute from Prince William. Narrated by Joanna Lumley, it will chart the campaign which lead to the end of the war and feature reenactments of crucial moments and some of the war’s most recognizable and influential figures.

*****

Sky will be hosting its own evening of WWII special programming on Monday, Sept. 14, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Broadcasting on the eve of the Battle of Britain Day, the network will dedicate a three-hour block to documentaries examining the aerial conflict between the U.K.’s Royal Air Force and their allies, and the German Luftwaffe.

The evening will start with “Battle of Britain 80: Allies at War,” a documentary produced by Nik Coleman TV which covers the months of June and July, 1940, when Britain and its allies launched an airborne counter-attack against Germany’s vaunted Luftwaffe.

Battle of Britain: The Race for Radar” will play immediately after and reveal the history of the development of Britain’s coastal radar network, crucial to detecting the Luftwaffe’s advances. And finishing off the evening, “Battle of Britain” is the first of a three-part series covering the story of the conflict, focusing on the key figures involved. Parts 2 and 3 will broadcast the following Mondays.

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