In February, Warner Bros Television Group said it had entered into an agreement to acquire the businesses of Netherlands-based producer Eyeworks outside the U.S. Today, the studio confirms it has received the required regulatory approvals and has completed the transaction. In yet another instance of key consolidation in the indie TV production space, Warner is buying Eyeworks’ interests in 15 territories across Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand. The deal adds 13 new markets to Warners’ international network of production companies, helping it establish a strong foothold. Warner Bros is also taking over all of Eyeworks’ international distribution activities for both formats and finished product.
Speculation has been swirling around a Warner Bros acquisition of Netherlands-based TV producer Eyeworks for several weeks. Warner Bros Television Group now says it has entered into an agreement to acquire all of Eyeworks’ businesses outside the U.S., in 15 territories across Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand. The purchase is an important part of WB Television Group’s growth strategy as it aims to establish a strong foothold in major TV production markets around the world. Ronald Goes, EVP and head of Warner Bros International Television Production, said today, “Eyeworks has the scale to help grow our presence in the global marketplace, as well as quality production capabilities and broadcaster relationships. I am confident that, as part of Warner Bros, it will continue to create and produce high quality content that can become franchises and be exported to create local versions in other markets around the world.” Among shows Eyeworks already makes are Celebrity Splash!, Extreme Weight Loss and Test The Nation. The company also recently signed a development deal with Fox Television Studios to jointly develop scripted programming originating from Scandinavian writers for the U.S. and international markets.
The acquisition by Warner Bros, for which financials were not provided, is subject to regulatory approval. The deal will add 13 new territories to Warner’s existing network of local production companies. Warner already has a majority stake in UK production group Shed Media and in BlazHoffski Holdingan, an indie producer that operates in The Netherlands and Belgium.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ITV Orders Quiz Show ‘The 21st Question’; Eyeworks’ ‘Beat The Blondes’ Format Adapted For China
ITV Orders Quiz Show ‘The 21st Question’
ITV has ordered The 21st Question, a new tactical quiz show from Chocolate Media. In the game, one power player faces 10 challengers through a series of tense “winner stays on” rounds designed to test strategy and wits of all players. Only one of the players will successfully fend off all the competition, and whoever is left standing faces a chance to win big — provided they can answer the 21st Question. The 10-episode hourlong show will be executive produced by David Mortimer and Alan Brown and air on ITV1 later this year.
Eyeworks’ ‘Beat The Blondes’ Format Adapted For China
Eyeworks’ Beat The Blondes format is headed to China. 3C Media will adapt the show for the market and produce 13 episodes in the spring for a selection of regional free TV channels in Jiangxi, Henan, Chongqing, Shanxi, Qingdao TV and Hubei. The adapted local version will have one male contestant competing with 50 long-haired beauties in two rounds of general-knowledge battles. Said 3C Media President and CEO Xichen Liu, “We are using long-haired girls instead of blondes due to the traditional Chinese saying, ‘Women’s wit does not match their long hair, thus women are short-sighted.’” Eyeworks’ Celebrity Splash format launched in China last year.
Warner Bros isn’t talking, but Dutch media is reporting today that the company is in talks to acquire Netherlands-based TV producer Eyeworks, Reuters said. Warner Bros International Television Production already has a majority stake in UK production group Shed Media and in BlazHoffski Holdingan, an indie producer that operates in The Netherlands and Belgium. Eyeworks produces and distributes unscripted programs in 16 countries including many in Europe as well as the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and Latin America. Among its shows are Celebrity Splash, Extreme Weight Loss, Test The Nation and I Know What You Did Last Friday. European production companies have been increasingly attractive acquisitions targets in general over the last year, with ITV taking majority stakes in the UK’s Big Talk, The Garden and So Television while Modern Times Group bought Nordic outfit Nice Entertainment and FremantleMedia took controlling interest in Denmark’s Miso Film. Also, NBCUniversal owns Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films.
In October last year, Banijay International requested an injunction against Dutch producer Eyeworks on the grounds that there were “approximately 100 similarities” between its eight-year-old format Stars In Danger: High Diving and Eyeworks’ newcomer Celebrity Splash. A Dutch court has now poured cold water on Banijay’s claims, but both sides say they are considering further legal action.
Fox Television Studios has signed a development deal with Netherlands-based Eyeworks Group, founded in 2001 by Reinout Oerleman. Under the pact, the two production companies plan to jointly develop scripted programming originating from Scandinavian writers for both for the US and international markets. “After our fantastic experience developing and producing The Killing for AMC, which is based on the extremely successful Danish TV series Forbrydelsen, we have had the pleasure of finding projects from the best of Scandinavian literary and television culture,” said FtvS president David Madden. “But we didn’t want simply to wait for finished product to come to us – we wanted the opportunity to leap into the trenches with Scandinavian writers, and to develop stories from the ground up whose universal appeal would stem from their origins in the richness of Scandinavia’s unique sensibilities.” The pact “offers FTVS access to gifted writers with fresh voices who are outside the traditional realm of Hollywood,” Madden added. Eyeworks has a presence in the US on the unscripted side through Eyeworks USA (formerly 3 Ball). Los Angeles-based producer Melinda Jason – and her company, Conspiracy – with whom FtvS has an existing first-look deal, was instrumental in bringing the studio together with Eyeworks, and will serve as executive producer on all projects under the FtvS-Eyeworks deal.