The strength of Lionsgate’s content slate, and its flexibility to adapt to the needs of all platforms (be they linear or digital), have been on full display this year, as it has risen to meet the demands of a marketplace still reeling from the coronavirus. “We have the ability to create bespoke business models for every platform and to find innovative windowing strategies for our series that meet the content needs of our partners, which is especially important during this time,” says Agapy Kapouranis, president of international television and digital distribution at Lionsgate.
For example, Lionsgate recently partnered with CBS on the second-window rights in the U.S. for its anthology series Manhunt: Deadly Games to fill the channel’s fall schedule. The series, co-produced by Lionsgate and Spectrum Originals, recently premiered on CBS after launching on Spectrum earlier this year.
“We are also seeing a significant uptick in the licensing of iconic properties from our 17,000-title film and television library as streaming and linear platforms worldwide fill voids in their programming schedules,” Kapouranis adds.
One of Lionsgate’s differentiating characteristics, according to Kapouranis, is its prolific portfolio of premium content featuring diverse, world-class talent. “Many of our properties are targeted toward women, Black and Latinx audiences,” she notes. This includes such Oscar-winning feature films as Crash, Monster’s Ball and Precious, as well as Tyler Perry movies, and TV shows such as Greenleaf, Orange Is the New Black, Dear White People and Starz’s Power, Ghost, P-Valley, The Spanish Princess and Vida. “These are all stories that are not only relevant to today’s conversations about racial justice and social equality, but also resonate with global audiences for their storytelling and universal themes,” says Kapouranis.
The company is showcasing one of its strongest scripted programming slates this year, with all six of Lionsgate’s new series already renewed for second seasons. “Our critically-acclaimed Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is a fun, music-filled spectacle that is also emotionally powerful,” Kapouranis says. “Love Life, starring the charismatic Anna Kendrick, is funny and very relatable, earning its place as one of HBO Max’s top-viewed shows.” She lists Hightown, P-Valley and Power Book II: Ghost among the Lionsgate-produced shows for Starz that are performing very well. Ghost, which picks up shortly after the earth-shattering events of Power, is already setting new viewership records on the Starz app. Meanwhile, Manhunt: Deadly Games follows as FBI agents hunt for a serial bomber after a deadly terrorist attack at the Olympic Games, while a wrongly-accused, innocent man fights to clear his name. “Being picked up by CBS speaks to the quality and performance of the show,” Kapouranis says. Lionsgate also has international distribution rights for Ramy, which has been a resounding hit for Hulu and earned multiple Emmy nods.
In the way of unscripted highlights, the company is introducing the highly anticipated unscripted series House of Ho to buyers. The multigenerational family docusoap, à la Crazy Rich Asians, follows the daily lives of a Vietnamese-American family whose patriarch, Bihn Ho, and matriarch, Hue Ho, immigrated to the U.S. to achieve the American dream. Along with showcasing their lavish lifestyle, the series is a heartfelt celebration of family unity. It is produced by Wallin Chambers Entertainment in association with Lionsgate Television.
“Our focus is to continue to be a leading platform-agnostic supplier of premium content to broadcast, cable and streaming platforms alike,” Kapouranis says. “We have a vast portfolio of premium content driven by a deep library, one of the biggest independent television businesses in the world and a robust film slate, to meet the increasing demand for content from an expanding array of buyers—a perfect storm of ingredients positioning us to thrive in the current landscape.”
See Lionsgate Entertainment’s Fall 2020 Showcase here.