Over the past year Current TV in the UK, once known primarily for short-form content, has been rolling out more long-form docs and series. Realscreen spoke with senior producer Amy-Louise Jones Norris – who looks after acquisitions for the channel – about her search for edgy, brand defining programs and docs for Current TV UK.
Did you make any deals you can talk about at MIPDoc or MIPTV?
We’ve made a series of long-form acquisitions for our Monday night documentary strand. We’re now looking to diversify into factual series and more identifiable series on the channel with our acquisitions and those deals are happening behind the scenes.
As you’re moving into more long-form acquisitions and you’re looking to acquire identifiable series and docs, what types of projects you’re looking for?
We want factual series and documentaries that have the potential to be brand-defining so that we can really focus our brand and attract a large audience both in the UK and the US. So we’re looking for really noisy documentaries that are going to make a splash.
We’re also looking for long-running franchises. We have a couple of series in our original programming pipeline that are exciting and will hopefully be more long-running franchises, as well as specials. We want to see inventive, smart takes on existing genres. If you think of how Deadliest Catch redefined docu-reality, we’re looking for a series, or a number of series, that can do a similar kind of thing.
[We're also looking for] strong opinionated characters who create noise on their own and who our viewers are going to latch onto and build a relationship with. The underdog succeeding; issues that reflect today’s zeitgeist and what our demographic [smart 25- to 44-year-olds] is about. Sensational, taboo, controversial subjects. For example, we just aired our most exciting documentary to date, which is Incest: the Last Taboo, about genetic sexual attraction and that did very well. We’re trying to shine a light on really sensitive, controversial subjects that are handled in a really inventive, new kind of way.
What advice can you give producers who would like to work with Current TV for the first time?
We want to broaden our horizons of the producers we’re working with, so we really want to foster emerging talent, work with new producers and help them grow. [We want to] give them projects and listen and work with them, because that’s what we’ve always done. We’ve always been a network that’s really ‘babysat’ new producers and helped them grow into excellent filmmakers.
What we also want to do is work with larger production companies, more established indies, to grow in that way as well. So, first of all, we’re open to everybody and we want to hear really fresh spins. We want to hear pitches that challenge what we think is right for us. It really is a ‘spread the net wide’ kind of [approach]. If the idea is right, then the money is there.
For acquisitions speak to Amy-Louise Jones Norris and for commissions and original content speak to director of content, Lina Prestwood. For more info, go to Current’s site.