Fremantle has taken full control of Richard Brown’s British production company, Passenger (This England).
Brown launched Passenger with the backing of Fremantle in May 2019, signing an exclusive multi-year deal with the manufacturing giant, a subsidiary of Germany’s RTL Group.
Following the acquisition, announced Tuesday, Passenger will become part of Fremantle’s Global Drama division, led by Christian Vesper. Brown will continue to lead the company, but will also take on a new creative role within Fremantle’s Global Drama division, helping to connect talent and projects across the company’s fast-growing international network of production labels. Brown’s pre-Passenger production credits are also on HBOs Real detectiveNetflix period epic Outlaw king with Chris Pine and the Hulu limited series Catch-22 starring George Clooney.
Passenger plans to expand its team in New York, Los Angeles and London, with Caitlin Bruner, formerly head of development at Noah Hawley’s 26 Keys, coming on board as VP, development, and Elise Swift being promoted to the role of creative director . More new employees are expected to be hired soon.
Passenger’s most high-profile project to date is the Michael Winterbottom-directed one This England, a limited series for Sky starring Kenneth Branagh as former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The series was Sky Atlantic’s first original drama launch of the year and Fremantle sold the project to over 90 territories around the world.
Most recently, Fremantle and Passenger selected Tess Gunty’s 2022 National Book Award winning debut novel, The rabbit hutch and are teaming up to produce a premium documentary series on the new Basketball Africa League (BAL).