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Global Bulletin: Sky Surpasses Its Diversity Goals With 25% On-Screen Talent From BAME Backgrounds

Variety — Jamie Lang

In today’s Global Bulletin, Sky reports its latest Diamond diversity data, Abacus Media sells “Trickster” abroad, Channel 4 commissions a new home remodeling format and Pier 21 announces two executive appointments.

DIVERSITY

Sky in the U.K. has released its latest Diamond diversity data, reporting progress towards diversity targets for original U.K. productions. The Diamond system was created by the TV industry’s Creative Diversity Network (CDN) to allow broadcasters to collect and use data to track representation across a wide range of characteristics.

Updated numbers show that 25% of Sky’s on-screen talent now comes from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, surpassing the broadcaster’s initial 20% target. Sky has also reported improved minority representation in senior production roles, reaching 10% for the first time ever. Among writing positions, BAME representation in drama and comedy reached 17%, 9 points up from Sky’s full-year report shared earlier this summer.

Results come just three months after Sky committed £30 million ($39 million) to support the fight against racial injustice and invest more in diversity and inclusion.

“We are encouraged by the most recent data, but we know we still have a lot of work to do in reaching and maintaining all our inclusion targets.,” said Sky Studios CEO Gary Davey. “As more and more productions return to set, ensuring cast and crew fill out their Diamond data forms is a critical task alongside daily temperature checking and other safety measures.

“Diamond can only be as effective and useful to the industry as the data it is able to collect. As productions start back up again, I encourage all of us to redouble our efforts on gathering data that will help make long-lasting change for the better.”

SERIES SALES

Abacus Media Rights has closed a raft of sales for the upcoming Canadian supernatural series “Trickster.” Sky in the U.K., NITV and SBS On Demand in Australia, Globoplay in Brazil and KinoPoisk in Russia have each picked up the new drama, set to start broadcasting on Canada’s CBC this October, after a Toronto Intl. Film Festival premiere.

Based on Eden Robinson’s bestselling book trilogy “Son of a Trickster,” the series is created by Streel Films’ Michelle Latimer and Tony Elliott, who also executive produce with Sienna Films’ Jennifer Kawaia and Julia Sereny. All six episodes are directed by Michelle Latimer.

The books and series spotlight indigenous Canadian main characters and mythology, offering up new narratives to TV audiences.

COMMISSION

Channel 4 in the U.K. has announced “The Great House Giveaway,” a new daytime series format from Welsh production company Chwarel.

Famed fixer-upper Simon O’Brien (“Find It, Fix It, Flog It,” “Lost and Found”), will present the program in which two strangers will be teamed up and given a pile of cash to buy a home at auction and fix it up over the next six months. If they are unable to sell their made-over property themselves, the house will go back to auction. In addition to presenting, O’Brien will be available to the partners for professional guidance.

Sioned Morys executive produces the series, which will be directed by factual format vets Michael Barrett, Imogen Willcocks and Nia Dryhurst. The series was commissioned by Channel 4’s Kate Thomas, commissioning editor for daytime.

APPOINTMENTS

Independent Canadian production company Pier 21 has announced two new appointments in former CBC executive Karen Tsang and VP of development and the promotion of Bill Lundy to senior VP of development.

Both will report directly to Pier 21 Films’ COO Nicole Butler, and work together to grow the company’s development slate, develop new IP and expand industry relationships domestically and abroad.

Tsang comes to Pier 21 following eight years working in scripted content at CBC where she oversaw creative development and production for series including the “Baroness von Sketch Show,” “TallBoyz,” “Mr. D,” and “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.”

Lundy has been with Pier 21 since 2018, when he joined as VP of development. Before that he was at Bell Media where he developed comedy programming including “The Beaverton,” “Letterkenny,” and “Just For Laughs: All Access.”

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