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Viaplay and MGM strike multi-year co-production and development deal for original international series



Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) and MGM International Television Productions today announced a new multi-year deal to develop and co-produce six English-language original international series for NENT Group’s Viaplay streaming service.

All six series will be shown exclusively as Viaplay Originals throughout the Nordics, Baltics, Netherlands and Poland, with MGM handling distribution in the rest of the world. The partnership’s first two projects will be the star-packed productions ‘Billy the Kid’ and ‘Last Light’.

Billy the Kid’ is an epic romantic drama series from Michael Hirst (‘Vikings’) starring British actor Tom Blyth (‘Benediction’) as the famous American outlaw. The series is a co-production with EPIX Studios and MGM International Television Productions, in association with NENT Group. Otto Bathurst (‘Peaky Blinders’) is directing the first two episodes of the eight-episode first season.

Additionally, MGM and NENT Group will partner on the apocalyptic thriller ‘Last Light’, in association with Peacock. Based on Alex Scarrow’s best-selling novel of the same name and originated by Viaplay Studios, Make It Happen Studio and REinvent, ‘Last Light’ tells the story of a family fighting to survive in a world suddenly thrown into chaos.

The five-episode series stars and is executive produced by Emmy®-nominee Matthew Fox (‘Lost’), alongside star and three-time Emmy®-nominee Joanne Froggatt (‘Liar’; ‘Downton Abbey’). Dennie Gordon (‘Jack Ryan’) is directing the entire series and serving as executive producer. Patrick Massett and John Zinman (‘The Blacklist’) serve as showrunners and executive producers.

Filippa Wallestam, NENT Group Chief Content Officer: “Viaplay will soon be available in at least 16 markets and unique storytelling is a key part of our expansion strategy. We are proud of our long-term partnership with MGM and that we are now working together to co-produce series with some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Series like ‘Billy the Kid’ and ‘Last Light’ show the scale of our ambitions and will help put Viaplay on the map in our latest territories even faster.”

Rola Bauer, President, MGM International Television Productions: “NENT Group’s focus on developing premium, global stories through an international lens aligns perfectly with our mission at MGM International TV Productions. Strong narratives like the epic series ‘Billy the Kid’ and ‘Last Light’, which will entertain and also address important social issues, will capture audiences’ attention worldwide, and our co-production partnership with NENT Group makes this possible.”

At least 60 Viaplay Originals are set to premiere in 2022. Every year, two major English-language films about Nordic figures and events will be produced for Viaplay, beginning with ‘Hilma’, a biopic of the Swedish artist and feminist pioneer Hilma af Klint written and directed by Lasse Hallström (Oscar-nominated for ‘The Cider House Rules’ and ‘My Life as a Dog’) and starring Lena Olin (Oscar-nominated for ‘Enemies, A Love Story’).

MGM International Television Productions currently has six greenlit projects in production since launching just over a year ago. The studio also currently has first-look deals with Sydney Gallonde, Erika Halvorsen, Tamara Tenenbaum and leading Spanish talent manager Ruth Franco.