‘The Office’ Producer’s Roughcut, Fremantle in First-Look Drama Deal 5

Fremantle, part of media giant Bertelsmann’s RTL Group, has struck a first-look drama development deal with Roughcut Television, the production firm co-founded by CEO Ash Atalla, the producer of the original British version of The Office and The IT Crowd.

The agreement follows the companies’ recent team-up on Paramount+ U.K. & Ireland psychological thriller series Little Disasters, starring Diane Kruger (Troy, Inglourious Basterds) and Jo Joyner (The Wives, For Her Sins).

Roughcut, founded by Atalla and chief operating officer Tim Sealey, is mostly known for comedy shows, such as Big BoysStath Lets Flats, and Cuckoo but it has also had success with recent Channel 5 drama Coma, starring Jason Watkins.

“The first-look and drama development deal will see Fremantle become the primary home for Roughcut TV’s scripted drama projects, with the producer working closely with Fremantle’s acclaimed global drama and international distribution divisions,” the companies said. “The news comes as Roughcut rapidly scales up its scripted drama work, with a team led by CEO Ash Atalla, creative director Alex Smith and head of drama Marianna Abbotts.” Later this summer, the firm will launch comedy drama We Might Regret This on BBC Two.

The deal was spearheaded by Jill Kellie, vp commercial strategy, commercial & international at Fremantle and Sealey.

“This Fremantle deal is a game-changing moment for Roughcut as we accelerate our push into drama,” Atalla said. “Our goal is to build fast and become one of a new generation of global drama suppliers.”

Added Rebecca Dundon, senior vp scripted content, international at Fremantle: “Roughcut’s commercial sensibility and brilliant creative vision, led by Ash, Alex and Marianna, is making for an exciting slate of original, contemporary drama series that feel in tune with what audiences and buyers are actively seeking, both locally and globally.”

Fremantle has been striking acquisition, first-look, and other deals with various production banners and big names, including with Stefano Sollima’s AlterEgo, Kristen Stewart’s Nevermind Pictures, Me+You Productions, Pablo and Juan de Dios Larraín’s Fabula, Luca Guadagnino, Paolo Sorrentino, Angelina Jolie, Rachel Weisz and Polly Stokes’ Astral Projection, All Quiet on the Western Front director Edward Berger and his label Nine Hours, and Johan Renck (Chernobyl) and Michael Parets’ Sinestra.

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