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Sky €2.2M Budget for Irish Entertainment Show
11 Sep 2017 : Deirdre Hopkins
IFTN talks to Philip Edgar Jones, Head of Entertainment at Sky.

Sky has announced a boost to the Irish production sector with a new content fund of over €2m (£2.2m) for its Sky 1 channel as it searches for a new homegrown Irish hit entertainment show.

The fund builds on Sky’s previous investment in Irish productions with the success of shows like the International Emmy Award winning Moone Boy and the three-series hit, 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy.

Philip Edgar Jones, Head of Entertainment at Sky, was in Dublin this week calling on the Irish Independent Production sector to submit their programming ideas in a bid to find the next hit show. Any submissions should have a focus across the Entertainment / Factual Entertainment and Comedy Ents genres for Sky 1 as the channel moves to an edgier, more mischievous and grown up audience appeal, with a major return to entertainment and a renewed commitment to comedy.

Speaking to IFTN, Philip said, "We’re looking for imaginative ideas, that’s why we’ve come here and launched this new fund. 

"Ideas being submitted should be universal – it should have the ambition to be able to sell in America at some point as a TV format.”

“Ireland has a thriving production sector and we want to bring the biggest and best of Irish entertainment to Sky customers across Europe. Sky 1 is the home of entertainment and we are looking for bold, action-packed shows. We’re very excited and encouraged by the discussions we have been having with Irish Indies.”

“We don’t want to do things small-scale, we want to spend a bit of money on them and do them at a big scale – it should look like a movie and feel like a movie but in a real setting and have some authenticity.”

These big scale projects include three new shows recently commissione; Sing: Ultimate A Cappella, hosted by Cat Deeley, bringing together 30 brilliant and diverse a cappella groups (including two Irish acts) in a competition based on raw vocal talent, will air on Sky 1 this October while Carmageddon, an epic clash where pimped-up battle ready cars will face their judgement day and Revolution – a new large scale action-entertainment show that pitches skateboards, BMXers and skaters against one other, all of which will air in 2018.

About the Irish sector, Philip said, “there is real talent for creating good entertainment here

The move is part of Sky’s commitment to invest in local production in each of its territories, with cross-over appeal to Sky customers across Europe. In Italy, Sky has produced international hits The Young Pope and Gomorrah, and this year will bring Babylon Berlin, one of the most ambitious non-English language series ever made in Germany, to customers across the Group.

JD Buckley, Managing Director, Sky Ireland, said: “This is wonderful news for both Sky Ireland and for writers, producers and directors working here. This €2m + content fund again underpins Sky’s commitment to Ireland and to producing great original content here.  We’ve already enjoyed great success with programmes such as 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy and Moone Boy and we’re excited by the prospect of yet another creative hit coming out of Ireland.”

Alongside Sky Original Productions, Sky continues to invest in acquired content for customers in Ireland, including 3pm Premier League games exclusive to Irish viewers, GAA rights and recently launched a Sky News Dublin bureau which will see Dublin Correspondent Daren McCaffrey joining Sky Ireland at the end of this month. 

Sky Ireland is also working on a new co-funded project with the Irish Film Board, details of which will be announced in the autumn.

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