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Cinemax copro among new Sky originals

UK pay TV service Sky is working up a London-set gangster thriller as a coproduction with US premium network Cinemax.

Gangs of London (WT) is one of a number of new shows Sky unveiled at an event in the UK last night, with the others including the Lenny James-penned Save Me and Benedict Cumberbatch-fronted Patrick Melrose.

Gangs of London will air on Sky Atlantic in the UK and HBO-owned Cinemax in the US in 2019, with Pulse Films producing in association with Sister Pictures.

The show will follow the results of a power vacuum created when the head of an international criminal organisation is assassinated, focusing on various different gangs on the streets of London.

Sky has committed to upping its spend 25% in 2018, with 50 original series scheduled to launch during the year. Among the new shows 24 will be returners.

Jeremy-Darroch-new-2Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch (pictured) said spending would increase “at a similar rate over the next few years” to create a “strong pipeline of content based on customer insights Sky can generate”.

Sky has also commissioned second seasons of Julia Stiles drama Riviera and Bounty Hunters, which is from Jack Whitehall and stars Rosie Perez (White Men Can’t Jump), plus more Urban Myths.

On the unscripted front, Sky has ordered Ronnie Wood: Artist in Residence, which will air on Sky Arts and comes from Somethin’ Else, and Loot, which is a format from Shine TV in which contestants aim to hide treasure from detectives.

Darroch claimed recent original dramas Tin Star and Riviera had been downloaded “more than 20 million times”, though ratings on Sky Atlantic were small.

Sky managing director of content Gary Davey, who recently attacked BBC director general Tony Hall over comments about the future of British television, told an audience at the Sky event that the pay TV broadcaster had “successfully reconfigured” how it produces original programming.

“We’re on a journey to get ourselves on to the main stage of world class content,” he said. “The objective is to be always on, and with world class content. We’re halfway there and we almost got there this year.

“We have had something big and meaningful happening every month since. When we get behind a project extraordinary things can happen.”