Sky Studios acquires minority stake in Longboat Pictures

Thursday 7 May 2020

Sky Studios, Sky’s Europe-wide development and production arm, today announced that it has acquired a minority stake in Longboat Pictures, a new independent production company specialising in TV drama.

Longboat Pictures was founded last year by LA-based director-producer Julie Anne Robinson and former ITV commissioner Victoria Fea. Robinson directed both theatre and award-winning TV shows in the UK (Blackpool, Coming Down the Mountain), before moving to LA. She has worked prolifically across comedy and drama as both director (Nurse Jackie, Orange is the New Black, Grace & Frankie, The Good Place) and producer, including 13 network pilots and bringing seven series to the air. She has also directed studio features and most recently kicked off Bridgerton for Shondaland and Netflix.

Fea was Senior Drama Commissioner for eight years at ITV, where she was responsible for many series including The Durrells, Marcella, Victoria, Harlots, and Unforgotten as well as serials A Confession, Manhunt, Innocent and Little Boy Blue. Prior to joining ITV, Fea was an exec producer, producer and script editor in the indie sector, including World Productions and Wall to Wall, as well as at the BBC.

Sky Studios’ investment in Longboat Pictures will further support its ambition to become the leading force in European content production and a growing presence in the scripted drama space.

Longboat Pictures has a wealth of expertise and experience in the drama field, both in the UK and U.S. We’re excited to be joining forces with them.

Gary Davey

CEO Sky Studios

Under the deal the investment will provide Longboat with the support to accelerate its growth and become a leading international developer of TV drama. It will also enable Longboat to strengthen and expand its creative team.

Longboat will work closely with Sky Studios to develop content for distribution on the Sky platforms, and other networks.

Gary Davey, CEO, Sky Studios, said: “Longboat Pictures has a wealth of expertise and experience in the drama field, both in the UK and U.S. We’re excited to be joining forces with them in this new partnership and bringing viewers world-class, engaging shows.

Cameron Roach, Sky’s Director of Drama, added: “We are thrilled to announce the partnership between Longboat and Sky Studios. Victoria and Julie Anne are incredibly well respected programme makers internationally and have exceptional writer relationships. Their editorial sensibility and their ambition to evolve ambitious, entertaining scripted shows, chimes very much with our outlook at Sky Studios.

Julie Anne Robinson and Victoria Fea, Founders of Longboat Pictures, said: “We are very happy to be collaborating with Sky Studios at such an exciting time in their development. The world needs entertaining stories more than ever at the moment, and we are looking forward to creating them in our new partnership.

Note to Editors

About Sky Studios

Sky Studios brings to screen unique stories from the very best talent in Europe.

We develop, produce and fund original drama, comedy and documentary for Sky’s 24m customers and beyond, with 52 scripted shows already in production. Building on the success of critically-acclaimed Sky originals including Emmy-winning Chernobyl, Bafta-winning Patrick Melrose and international hits Babylon Berlin and Riviera, Sky Studios is the new creative home of Sky originals, such as The Third Day with Jude Law, ZeroZeroZero from the makers of Gomorrah and The New Pope directed by Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino.

We’re an agile Studio, seeking out the best untold stories from new voices while working in creative partnership with today’s best writers, producers and on-screen talent to bring viewers stories they wouldn’t find anywhere else.

With commissioning talent and production capability across the UK, Germany and Italy, we understand local tastes across Europe better than anyone else and have plans to more than double our investment in original content by 2024, fully supported and backed by Comcast NBC Universal.

We’re also developing a new TV and movie studio, Sky Studios Elstree, which is expected to lead to the creation of over 2,000 new jobs and generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in UK creative sector in the first five years alone.

Sky Studios invests in the cultural economy and global production sector with equity stakes in nine production companies in the UK and the US, including Great British Bake-Off creator Love Productions, and the premiere reality crime producer in the US, Jupiter Entertainment, creator of long-running hit Snapped. Sky Studios has invested in high quality factual specialists Blast Films and True North Productions; entertainment and format expert Znak & Co (US & UK); natural history producer True to Nature; drama producer The Lighthouse; and growth businesses Sugar Films, Chrysalis Vision, and Talos Films (US).

Sky Studios launched in June 2019. The senior leadership team is Chief Executive Officer Gary Davey, Chief Commercial Officer Jane Millichip, Chief Finance Officer Caroline Cooper, Director of Drama UK Cameron Roach, Director of Comedy UK Jon Mountague, Director Original Production Sky Italia Nils Hartmann, and Director Original Productions Sky Deutschland Marcus Ammon.

About Longboat Pictures

Longboat Pictures was founded last year by Julie Anne Robinson and Victoria Fea. Based in London with deep connections to LA talent, Longboat is harnessing the creative energies of both entertainment capitals. Between us, we have many years’ experience in drama and comedy development, direction, producing and commissioning.

Longboat has a slate of entertaining, emotional and bold scripted content. We celebrate the mainstream, knowing that excellence and populism can go hand-in- hand. We are passionate about putting diversity into the heart of the TV and streaming landscapes. By leveraging a unique combination of talent relationships, Longboat brings together the most exciting writers and actors on both sides of the Atlantic to create relevant, distinctive and accessible projects.

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