UPDATE TUESDAY: While no side is discussing financials, I’ve learned more about the size of the deal, in which Legendary Entertainment acquired Asylum. I hear that Legendary ended up paying about eight times what Asylum is projected to make in terms of profits in 2014, which comes to a price tag just north of $100 million. Asylum is set to clear $12-$13 million next year, about three times what the company made in profits this year, as its balance sheet will be bolstered by the one-year output deal Asylum recently inked with ReelzChannel to deliver 50 hours of unscripted programming for the network in 2014, distributed over 10 series. While 8x multiple is within the range for a high-end deal, I hear Asylum’s decision to go with Legendary vs. the other suitors bidding for it came down to the plans Legendary had for the company’s future. In anticipation of the sale, Asylum has been aggressively staffing up in the last couple of months, hiring Stephanie Lydecker as SVP of Development to oversee unscripted development and Joan Harrison as SVP Scripted Programming & Development to oversee miniseries and limited series, as well as signing a pod deal with reality producer Sean Travis.
PREVIOUS MONDAY: In its first company acquisition on the TV side, in a competitive situation Legendary Entertainment has bought 100% of TV production company Asylum Entertainment, producer of The Kennedys miniseries. Asylum will be part of Legendary Television & Digital Media. While Legendary Television will remains focused on producing Legendary-branded scripted content, Asylum will serve as a production label for non-scripted, long-form, sports and other genres. Asylum will continue to operate as an independent company run by its founders, president and CEO Steve Michaels and president and chief creative officer Jonathan Koch, who will report to Bruce Rosenblum, President of Legendary Television and Digital Media. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Veteran reality producer Sean Travis has inked a pod deal with Asylum Entertainment. Under the pact, he will produce his own shows. Travis’ unscripted credits include MTV’s The Real World, ABC’s The Mole and Celebrity Mole, WB’s High School Reunion, Spike TV’s The Joe Schmo Show and Fox’s Princes Of Malibu and The Rebel Billionaire. He also was executive producer for MTV’s The Hills and The City, and currently is EP on that network’s Wait ‘Til Next Year via his 2Lights Entertainment. He is repped by WME and Greenberg Traurig. It’s the latest addition for Asylum, producers behind The Kennedys miniseries as well as reality shows like ReelzChannel’s Beverly Hills Pawn and the ESPN docu series 30 For 30. As part of its expanding unscripted efforts, Asylum last month inked an output deal with Kennedys partner ReelzChannel with plans to produce 50 hours of unscripted programming for the network in 2014. That move came hortly after hiring reality TV veteran Stephanie Lydecker joined to oversee unscripted development as well as develop for the company’s scripted business. On the scripted side, Asylum just named Joan Harrison SVP Scripted Programming & Development to oversee miniseries and limited series for the company; she had most recently been at Gersh, where she repped showrunners and filmmakers and packaged longform and unscripted series.
ReelzChannel and Asylum Entertainment are expanding their relationship that dates back to the Asylum-produced miniseries The Kennedys, which put the network on the map with 10 Emmy nominations and four wins in 2011. Now the pair have signed an output deal that will see Asylum produce 50 hours of unscripted programming for the network in 2014, distributed over 10 series. A previous development deal netted ReelzChannel’s first unscripted docuseries, Beverly Hills Pawn, which returns for a second season November 6; as well as new series The Capones and Hollywood Hillbillies, slated for January bows. “Asylum is one of the great TV production companies and, especially as an independent network, we are lucky to have such committed partners as [Asylum principals] Jonathan Koch and Steve Michaels,” ReelzChannel CEO Stan E. Hubbard said. In September, reality TV veteran Stephanie Lydecker joined Asylum to oversee unscripted development as well as develop for the company’s scripted business.
Reality TV veteran Stephanie Lydecker has been named SVP of Development for Asylum Entertainment. In her new role, Lydecker will oversee unscripted development for Asylum and will also develop for the company’s scripted business. Lydecker comes to Asylum from 495 Productions where she served as Head of Development. Her credits there include Jersey Shore, The Pauly D Project, Shot At Love, Repo Games, More To Love, and Wedding Wars, among others. On the film side, Lydecker co-wrote with Jesse Russell her first feature screenplay, Like Lightning, which is currently in pre-production.