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Zelenskyy’s Sitcom ‘Servant of the People’ Sees Spike in Worldwide Sales – but U.S. Rights Up for Grabs

Major broadcasters across the globe have recently licensed the show

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s sitcom “Servant of the People” has exploded with popularity over the last week, since the comedian-turned-politician became an international war hero.

Major broadcasters across the globe have recently licensed the show, including Channel 4 in the UK, MBC in the Middle East, ANT 1 in Greece and PRO TV in Romania, according to Eccho Rights, which distributes the program.

The comedy series, ironically, follows Zelenskyy as Vasiliy Petrovich Goloborodko, a high school teacher who becomes president after a student’s video of him denouncing corruption in Ukraine goes viral. Produced by Zelenskyy’s Studio Kvartel 95, “Servant of the People” ran for three seasons beginning in 2015 and also spawned a spinoff movie.

Since Zelenskyy began defiantly leading his country through Russia’s invasion, the show has seen a spike in sales, Eccho Rights managing partner Nicola Söderlund told The Associated Press.

In an interview with TheWrap, managing director Fredrik af Malmborg said the desire for broadcasters to secure the rights to the show “makes complete sense.”

“I think it’s the best thing any media company in the world can do to every series [he’s done] as a sign of support for his work right now,” he said. “Because I think it’s really heroic what he’s doing and so I think it’s a perfect sign of support for his work, and to stand up against this atrocity.”

Before Zelenskyy began his bid for the presidency, the series streamed on Netflix, but Malmborg said the streamer’s deal ended after two years. For now, the U.S. rights are still up for grabs, he told TheWrap.

Currently, episodes of the show appear to only be available in the U.S. on YouTube.

“Servant of the People” ended in 2019 when Zelenskyy ran for president — funnily enough, under a political party of the same name. “It’s an amazing story, really,” Malmborg told TheWrap. “I believe he’s grown to be a very strong leader for his country.”

Malmborg and the rest of the Eccho Rights team have worked with Zelenskyy since 2012 when they distributed his show “Crack Them Up.” In a show of solidarity with Ukraine, the company pledged 50,000 euro — which Malmborg said is about equal to the commission the company will earn from their spike in sales — to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society. They also vowed to remove all Russian-owned and produced series from its catalogue.

“That’s the least we can do, we think,” he said.

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