Extra: UKTV taps Billy Connolly for Gold series; HBO Max begins global rollout

Billy Connolly teams with UKTV for comedy series  Legendary comedian Billy Connolly (pictured) will be the focus of a new UKTV Original series, Billy Connolly Does…, set to air on the ...
June 30, 2021

Billy Connolly teams with UKTV for comedy series 

Legendary comedian Billy Connolly (pictured) will be the focus of a new UKTV Original series, Billy Connolly Does…, set to air on the British broadcaster’s comedy-themed channel Gold this year.

The 5 x 60-minute show finds the comedian looking back at 50 years of stand-up comedy, as well as reflecting on his own life and career. Each episode of the series will be structured around a particular topic, like travel or parenthood, and showcase parts of Connolly’s beloved routines while also including new footage shot at his Florida home.

Billy Connolly On… was produced by Moonshine Features, part of The Whisper Group. The series was commissioned for UKTV by Iain Coyle, head of comedy entertainment, and ordered by Gerald Casey, Gold’s channel director. Michelle Crowther and Mike Reilly executive produced for Moonshine Features, with Reilly also acting as series director.

HBO Max expands to Latin America, Caribbean 

HBO Max has begun its global rollout, launching in 39 additional territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, marking the streaming platform’s first expansion beyond the U.S.

In addition to its existing catalogue, the streamer has committed to producing 100 local originals in Latin America over the next two years. Later this year, HBO Max will stream UEFA Champions League games in Mexico and Brazil.

The launch also means that U.S. subscribers to HBO Max will be able to access the platform while travelling to any of the newly supported countries, as will Latin American users when they’re in the U.S.

The new launch comes after HBO Max introduced an ad-supported lower-priced tier in the U.S. earlier this month. An expansion into Europe is planned for later in the year.

Cineflix Rights sales

British indie distributor Cineflix Rights announced a number of deals with broadcasters and streamers in the U.S. and Canada

Nat Geo Wild has picked up the first two seasons of Wizard of Paws (21 x 30 minutes), which follows a pet prosthetics expert as he helps injured animals with new limbs. Canada’s Blue Ant Media has also bought season one of the series.

CBC’s Gem streaming service has acquired three seasons of the series My Big Family Farm – series 1 (18 x 60 minutes) and the 90-minute special Five Years on the Farm, about a family of hill shepherds raising their nine children and more than 1,000 sheep in Britain; the vegan cooking and lifestyle series Living on the Veg (10 x 60 minutes); and The Day Will and Kate Got Married, an hour-long special marking the 10th anniversary of the royal wedding.

A&E has bought the first two seasons of Killer Cases (20 x 60 minutes), exploring high-profile murder trials in America, while Investigation Discovery picked up the third season of Homicide: Hours to Kill (26 x 60 minutes).

“This has been a busy spring with lots of demand for some of our latest heart-warming series reflecting a desire for content that moves and uplifts viewers. Alongside this content, our refreshed slate of high quality true crime continues to sell well, as do our growing number of movies,” said Lucinda Gergley-Garner, Cineflix Rights SVP of sales for North America and German speaking territories in a release.

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