Magazine article Variety

Doole Brings the Drama to FremantleMedia

Magazine article Variety

Doole Brings the Drama to FremantleMedia

Article excerpt

Global production and distribution company FremantleMedia is best known for unscripted shows like "The X Factor" and the "Got Talent" franchise, but it's increasingly turning the spotlight on dramas, like zombie thriller "The Returned," which debuts in the U.S. on A&E in March.

The show is one of the first results of a shift in strategy at FremantleMedia, where Sarah Doole, who has been director of global drama since February 2014, was hired by CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz with the goal of raising its scripted-programming revenue share to 50% from 30% in five years.

Two key challenges that Doole, the former head of drama at BBC Worldwide, faces: Drama takes longer to get to market than reality, and competition for top writing talent is fierce.

"If you look at the U.K. market for drama, for example, there are probably five or six top British writers, and they are booked for the next three or four years," she says. "In the U.S., there is a bigger writing pool, but availability is pretty much the same."

FremantleMedia's primary target is the U.S. A few months after Doole's hiring, the company tapped Craig Cegielski, a former Lionsgate TV executive, as exec VP of scripted programming and development to assist in the assault on the market. …

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