Kite Entertainment, who does Gogglebox Ireland and Ireland has talent, signed a development agreement with Sky which will finance the creation of an American-style writers’ room.
The Dublin-based production company will use Sky’s investment to set up a 12-week writers’ room in which “a mix of comedy voices” will develop a “scripted entertainment” series.
This is expected to lead to a major commission from Sky, which launched a call for ideas from Irish independent producers last September. Sky Entertainment Manager Phil Edgar-Jones and Sky Ireland Managing Director JD Buckley have said they will spend € 2.2m in Ireland’s “independent” sector.
“What’s good for us is that it’s not a beauty pageant. They have bet on us and are supporting us with the intention of making it happen, ”said Darren Smith, Managing Director of Kite.
The Writers’ Room, a group of around seven, will start working from May and start filming material from June. Mr Smith said it was “exciting” to be able to pay development stage writers for a project that could be shown on a UK channel.
The planned Sky 1 series will be “full of big laughs” and have “world class production values”. It will “feature at least one familiar name” and also showcase new talent.
Kite opted for Irish rights over the US format Saturday Night Live last year and presented it to broadcasters here. Although the project for Sky is “not Saturday Night LiveThe move “made us interesting for Sky,” Smith said.
“They were quite taken by the ambition or the illusion of making us opt Saturday Night Live. “
The idea of a writers’ room is becoming increasingly popular in the UK and European television industry, but it is common practice in the US industry, where series with long episode orders have relatively large teams of writers behind them.
“It would be nice to have three clients,” said Smith, referring to the traditional tendency of Irish independent producers to rely heavily on RTÉ.
In addition to making a new Irish successful celebrity genealogy series Who do you think you are? alongside Animo TV for RTÉ One and launches another series of its competition format Ireland’s fittest family, Kite is now directing two of the biggest shows produced in Ireland by TV3 in Gogglebox Ireland and Ireland has talent.
It has a “first look” option on formats created by UK company Studio Lambert and hopes to make an Irish version of its format. The great solution of life, in which “incredibly brilliant people” are tasked with solving community problems.
Kite is also a co-producer of Copper Face Jacks: The Musical, by Paul Howard, which is going to the Olympia Theater in Dublin this summer.
Sky has previously worked with Irish talent on shows such as the Chris O’Dowd comedy Moon boy and that of Baz Ashmawy 50 ways to kill your mom, while the period drama co-production Sky Atlantic-Showtime Dreadful Penny was filmed at Ardmore studios near Bray.
Last year Mr Edgar-Jones informed Irish producers that Sky was looking for something “uniquely funny and surprising” for a 10pm time slot on Sky 1.
“We’ll always end up asking, ‘Who’s in there? But for starters, we’d just like to see something that makes us laugh, that is shamelessly silly, immensely shareable on social media, and fun.