Impossible Pictures is set to build on sci-fi drama Primeval with an innovative CSI-style franchise deal with Canadian indie Omni Film Productions.
Following a co-production deal agreed last week, Omni Film will try to line up a broadcaster to partfund a Canadian version of the show, which is likely to cost about $2m per episode.
The yet-to-be-named Primeval franchise will extend the format with new characters, locations and storylines, rather than replicating the existing UK series.
Star Trek: Enterprise writers Judy and Garfield Reeves-Stevens have been earmarked to work on the scripts, which will be distributed to broadcasters.
Impossible has already begun early discussions with a range of UK, US and German broadcasters and distributors to gauge interest, and is hopeful of bringing in further investment with a view to starting production next summer.
Jonathan Drake, managing director of Impossible Pictures, said franchising the brand created opportunities both to distribute the Primeval back catalogue and to help secure its future.
“We won’t be replacing the UK show in the international market but complementing it. It will provide a positive glow for our catalogue of existing Primeval shows,” said Drake. “And if something were to happen to the UK version, the brand still survives.”
The Primeval spin-off will be produced in Canada with Impossible maintaining close control as co-exec producer. Drama and factual producer Omni Film worked with Impossible on ABC’s US drama Defying Gravity last year.
ITV decommissioned the original Primeval but it was rescued last year after Impossible struck a complex co-production deal involving ITV, UKTV, ProSieben in Germany and BBC Worldwide. ITV and Watch will get the first run of series four and five respectively next year. Both are currently being shot in Dublin, with a revamped cast.
Separately, Warner Bros picked up the rights to make a Primeval film in May last year.could mean that Series 4 or 5 could bridge the Canadian spin-off.