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NATPE: DirecTV Closes Latin America on Studiocanal’s Harlan Coben Series ‘The Five’

Variety logo Variety 1/18/2017 John Hopewell
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AT&T’s DirecTV has secured Latin American distribution to Harlan Coben’s “The Five,” sold by top Euro TV-film group Studiocanal.

Created exclusively for TV by Coben, a nine-time No. 1 New York Times bestselling author,“The Five” will debut on OnDirecTV on March 27.

Produced for the U.K.’s Sky 1 by Nicola Shindler’s Manchester-based RED Production Company (“Happy Valley”), “The Five” follows on two other DirecTV acquisitions from Studiocanal – Europe-spanning crime-thriller “The Last Panthers,” and dramedy “Spotless” – as OnDirecTV, a Latin American premium pay TV entertainment channel, seeks to build audiences for an upscale mix of international series and movies, concerts and documentaries.

OnDirecTV has also essayed localisation in Latin America via its first Latin American original series, Argentine noir thriller “La Casa del Mar,” which was nominated for an International Emmy in 2016.

The DirecTV deal adds to sales pacts with Japan’s Wowow, where “The Five” will bow in February. It world premiered on Sky 1 on April 15 and has aired on France’s Canal Plus, Italy’s TIMvision and Radio Canada in French-speaking Canada, as well as Israel’s Yes DBS, the Netherlands’ NPO, New Zealand’s Sky, Australia’s SBS 1 and Spain’s Telefonica.

Cutting to the chase in its very first episode, when a five-year-old is abandoned by his 12-year-old big brother and friends and disappears for good, an event driving the rest of the drama, “The Five” has some of the pace and end-of-episode cliffhangers of a U.S. broadcast network procedural. It’s tone is more cable, however, when the little brother’s DNA is found at a murder site decades later.

“Harlan is recognized as a master of creating mysteries with unexpected twists and turns,” said Willard Tressel, general manager of OnDirecTV.

“We believe our viewers will be captivated by the kind of storytelling – now brought to the screen – that has put over 70 million books in print worldwide.”

From a screenplay is by BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning writer Danny Brocklehurst, “The Five” is directed by Mark Tonderai and stars Tom Cullen (“Downton Abbey”), O.T. Fagbenle (“The Interceptor”), Lee Ingleby (“The A Word”), and Sarah Solemani (“The Wrong Mans”).

Studiocanal VP, sales Beatriz Campos and Miami-based consultant Daniel Rodriguez contributed to the sale, said Katrina Neylon, Studiocanal EVP sales and marketing,

“The Five” also forms part of Studiocanal’s energetic push into the production, rights acquisition and international sales of TV series and movies, as Vivendi, owner of Studiocanal parent Canal Plus Group, drives into content positioning itself in an increasingly telecom environment as one of the major content suppliers in Europe. RED Production Company is one of seven TV production companies owned or co-owned by Studiocanal in Europe. These include Germany’s Tandem Productions (“Crossing Lines,” “Spotless”). Tandem announced at NATPE on Tuesday that is in development on “Deep City,” a series created by scribe-producer Juan Carlos Coto whose (“From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series”).

Coto serves as an executive producer along with helmer-producer-scribe Callie Khouri (“Nashville,” “Thelma & Louise”), music producer T Bone Burnett(“True Detective,” “Crazy Heart”) and Tandem Prods.’ founding partners Tim Halkin and Rola Bauer.

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