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Sony/ATV, Granada Developing TV Series

Sony/ATV (Michael Jackson) Music to be a driving force behind new TV Series
March 13, 2009
By Ed Christman, N.Y.

Country songs can sure tell stories. Now the TV
production company Granada America wants to make some of those stories
into a series of one-hour TV dramas.

The film-producing duo of Mark Roberts and Lorena
David (“Strangers With Candy,” “Extreme Dating”) pitched the project to
Granada and will executive-produce it with veteran music supervisor
Joel C. High of Creative Control Entertainment. Dubbed “American
Storytellers,” the series will have access to at least seven songs from
Sony/ATV Music Publishing, as well as works by other yet-to-be-named

“We have worked with them for upwards of two years to
find the right songs for the project,” says Sony/ATV Nashville
president Troy Tomlinson. “The music was to be the driving force behind
the series.”

The music publisher boasts a formidable country
catalog that includes classics by Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and Roger
Miller, as well as recent hits by Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney and
Rascal Flatts. But Sony/ATV and Granada executives declined to reveal
which songs will be used in the series until they secure all remaining
publishing and related deals.

“We have a list of songs, which are more episodes
than we are making,” says Julie Meldal-Johnsen, senior VP of business
development at Granada America. “But we’d rather keep the titles under
wraps for now.”

Top country artists whose songs will be showcased in
the episodes may appear on camera as well, she says. Once Granada lines
up deals with artists, script writers and directors, it will pitch
“American Storytellers” to TV networks, Meldal-Johnsen says. “We want
to develop it properly,” she says.

Granada America is the U.S.-based production unit of
the U.K.-based ITV, one of Europe’s largest producers and broadcasters
of TV programs. Its U.S. shows include “The Chopping Block” on NBC,
“The First 48” on A&E and “Nanny 911” on CMT.

“In any climate, it’s wonderful that the songs that
you represent are chosen to be used in such a broad outlet as
television,” Tomlinson says. “But to have it in today’s challenging
economy, it’s even more encouraging.


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