Syco’s Lee McNicholas Joins ITV Studios’ Lifted Entertainment; Sky Bags ‘Wellington Paranormal’; Changes At Tokyo FF — Global Briefs

Syco’s Lee McNicholas Joins ITV Studios’ Lifted Entertainment
Lee McNicholas, an executive producer and creative director at Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment, is joining Lifted Entertainment, the new label created by ITV Studios to house its entertainment hits including I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! and Love Island. McNicholas will become Lifted’s creative director after a decade at Syco, where he has overseen Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor. He will report to Lifted’s managing director Angela Jain and will be based in Manchester’s MediaCityUK. The label, which is similar to ITV Studios’ non-scripted outfit MultiStory Media, has also been commissioned by ITV to make a pilot for hidden camera format Secret Gameshow, hosted by The Masked Singer UK presenter Joel Dommett. It features celebrities competing for bragging rights as they take on audacious hidden camera stunts to fool unsuspecting members of the public into helping them. Jain said: “Lee brings a wealth of experience and expertise on huge global entertainment shows which, when added to the depth of the brilliant creative team we have here in Manchester, means he is in the perfect position to spearhead the next phase of growth. With hope around the corner, it seems like we all need to be lifted out of our real lives at the moment. So many of the shows we produce bring joy and escapism, something I believe Secret Gameshow has in abundance. This past year has given us all the opportunity to focus our minds on the future in what has been a 12 months like no other.”

Sky Bags ‘Wellington Paranormal’
Sky has picked up What We Do In The Shadows spin-off series Wellington Paranormal. Executive produced by Emmy award-winning Jemaine Clement and Oscar-winning Taika Waititi, the mockumentary follows the investigations of hapless duo Minogue and O’Leary (played by Mike Minogue and Karen O’Leary) as they uncover supernatural activity on the streets of Wellington. The comedy is in its third season on TVNZ2 in New Zealand, with Sky making the whole back catalog available on April 5 in the UK and Ireland. Fremantle is distributing internationally.

Changes At Tokyo FF
The Tokyo International Film Festival says it will go ahead with a hybrid edition in 2021, October 30 – November 8. The fest is shaking things up this year, including signing a pledge committing itself to gender equality. Numerous festivals have signed the pledge first launched at Cannes in 2018 and Tokyo becomes the latest to follow suit by committing to improving gender equality across its teams and programming. The fest will also switch venues, moving to the Hibiya-Ginza area from Roppongi, where it has been since 2004. There will also be a wider reorganization of the programming team – Shozo Ichiyama has been appointed TIFF Programing Director with Yoshi Yatabe, who has overseen programming since 2004, leaving his role at the end of March.

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