The consolidation of independent unscripted production companies continues, with FremantleMedia buying a 75% stake in SallyAnn Salsano‘s 495 Prods. with the option to acquire the remaining 25%g in the future. Founded in 2006 by Salsano, 495 Prods. is behind such unscripted series as MTV’s Jersey Shore and spinoffs Snooki And JWOWW, The Show With Vinny and The Pauly D Project; Spike TV’s Tattoo Nightmares, which FremantleMedia distributes internationally, and Repo Games; MTV’s dating show Friendzone and the daytime syndicated talk show The Real. The company also produces Jerks With Cameras for MTV, Tattoos After Dark for Oxygen and CMT breakout hit Party Down South. “Our ambition is to continue to grow 495 Productions in the U.S. and to broaden its global footprint even further through our extensive distribution and production network,” FremantleMedia CEO Cécile Frot-Coutaz said.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie today pulled the plug on a tax credit for Jersey Shore, likening it to “wasteful spending.” The MTV reality show’s producer 495 Productions was to receive a $420,000 tax break for filming in the state as part of an economic development initiative. It’s a tiny victory for the Italian Americans who have repeatedly railed against the hugely successful show and who reached out, along with a New Jersey assemblyman, to ask Christie to block the subsidy. Though the governor says he doesn’t want to police the content of specific projects, he doesn’t count Jersey Shore among those that best benefit the state. “I am duty-bound to ensure that taxpayers are not footing a $420,000 bill for a project which does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the state and its citizens,” Christie wrote.
The idea that New Jersey taxpayers are helping to enable the Jersey Shore gang to party hearty and get their fight on isn’t sitting well. “I can’t believe we are paying for fake tanning for Snooki and The Situation, and I am not even sure $420,000 covers that,” Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon told the Newark Star-Ledger. A Democratic state Senator and an Italian American group today called on Republican Gov. Chris Christie to block the tax credit awarded yesterday to the MTV hit reality show’s production company 495 Productions. “It is disparaging to Italian Americans. He should veto it, ” said state Sen. Joe Vitale. A spokesman for the governor said that Christie doesn’t like the show and opposed the tax credit yet has no control over the decision. And not everyone is against it. In Seaside Heights, where the show is filmed, the mayor said even though Jersey Shore can show the state in a negative light, the investment pays big local dividends. “A lot of the business folks here appreciate that,” he said.