Amazon Studios‘ director Roy Price told attendees at a Mip keynote today that filming is starting in Paris this week on its pilot The Cosmopolitans. A chronicle of the loves and adventures of a group of young expatriates in the City of Light, it hails from The Last Days Of Disco filmmaker Whit Stillman who wrote and will direct and executive produce. The cast of the half-hour pilot includes Shaun Evans Adam Brody, Chloë Sevigny and Carrie MacLemore.
MIPTV Briefs: Amazon’s ‘Cosmopolitans’ Drinks In Paris; UK’s Watershed Names Creative Director; ITVSGE On A Roll In China
Dutch media entrepreneur John De Mol‘s Talpa Media Holdings has established new joint ventures in the UK, Italy and the Nordic region. The moves give Talpa the ability to produce local versions of formats from its own catalogue for TV channels in the respective markets, an increasing trend among players. Warner Bros‘ Shed Media Group has partnered with Talpa for Talpa UK. The partners are already in business on The Voice UK; De Mol co-created the format which is produced by Shed’s Wall to Wall. The new deal gives Shed exclusive access to the Talpa catalogue, including new reality show Utopia, which was picked up by Fox in the U.S. in January. Along with Wall to Wall, Shed houses six other UK production companies including Ricochet and Twenty Twenty. De Mol initially said he was looking to establish a UK-based company in 2012. In Italy, Talpa has teamed with Toro TV for Talpa Italia and in Northern Europe it will work with Nordisk Film TV in Scandinavia together with Banijay Finland in Finland via Talpa Nordic. Pim Schmitz, CEO of Talpa Holding, says, “In producing our formats, we’re used to working as co-producers together with local parties all over the world. What we’re now doing in the UK, Italy and the Northern European countries goes a step further. Talpa will now produce under its own brand, and for us …
Warner Bros-owned Shed Media Group has named Leanne Klein CEO of its production subsidiary Wall to Wall as current chief and founder Alex Graham exits. Wall to Wall creative director Klein will take over from Graham who will remain connected to the company as an executive producer on TLC’s U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? which Graham created. Klein has been at Wall to Wall, producer of The Voice UK, since 1995 and recently exec produced Hitchcock biopic The Girl. She has also overseen such programs as Long Lost Family, The Young Ones, Child Genius and The Voice UK. Graham founded Wall to Wall in 1987 and sold the company to Shed in 2007. Warner Bros acquired Shed in 2010.
Shed Media US, the stateside arm of the British TV production company backed by Warner Bros. International TV, is beefing up its US development team. Dan Snook has been hired as Senior Vice President, Development after serving as SVP of Development at Firecracker Films (TLC’s Gypsy Sisters, Discovery’s Zombie Apocalypse, Lifetime’s The Preachers Wives) and SVP at Eyeworks USA (Spike’s Bar Rescue, MTV’s I Used to be Fat, ABC’s Extreme Make-over: Weight Loss Edition). Joining Snook in developing unscripted content for Shed US is Dave Kuba who will serve as Vice President, Development coming from High Noon Entertainment (SyFy’s Collection Intervention, VH1′s Making Mr. Right). Shed Media US currently produces ten series on six networks including TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, Bravo’s The Real Housewives Of New York, VH1′s Hollywood Exes and Basketball Wives and the upcoming Styled to Rock for Style Network, USA’s It Takes A Choir, and Game Of Crowns for Bravo.
Warner Bros.’ Shed Media Group is restructuring management ranks at its production shingles Ricochet and Shed Media U.S. High Noon Entertainment EVP and Cake Boss exec producer, Pamela Healey, has been named general manager of Shed Media U.S. where she’s been tapped to lead development and production of original unscripted series as well as U.S. format versions of programs from Shed’s British companies. Shed Media U.S.’ current president, Nick Emmerson, will co-manage the company while Healey transitions in. At the same time, he is taking over the CEO role at Supernanny producer Richochet, replacing Nick Powell who is segueing to the post of chief creative officer. Emmerson will focus on growing the business while Powell will be responsible for creating new formats and developing relationships with onscreen talent. Before Emmerson took the top job at Shed U.S. in 2009, he was an executive producer at Ricochet, where he co-created the British version of Supernanny then exec produced the U.S. version for ABC. His other U.S. credits include Bravo’s The Real Housewives Of New York City, Animal Planet’s It’s Me Or The Dog and VH1’s Basketball Wives and Hollywood Exes. Shed Media U.S. was formed in 2009 as the American production arm for Shed Media Group’s UK production companies, which then included Ricochet, Wall to Wall, Twenty Twenty and Shed Productions.
Shed Media Group, controlled by Warner Bros International Television Production, has acquired a majority stake in UK TV production company Renegade Pictures. The company specializes in factual entertainment formats and documentaries. Founded in 2006 by Alan Hayling, Alex Cooke and Jon Rowlands, Renegade’s slate includes BBC Three reality show Don’t Tell The Bride, BBC Two’s World’s Most Dangerous Roads, Death Unexplained for BBC One and ITV’s Popstar To Operastar. Former BBC commissioner Harry Lansdown is editorial director at Renegade and, along with the existing team, will continue to operate independently from their London base. The company’s output will now be distributed by Warner Bros. Shed’s other brands include Shed Productions (Waterloo Road, Footballers Wives), Wall to Wall (The Voice UK), Twenty Twenty (World’s Strictest Parents) and Ricochet (The Bachelor UK).
VH1 has picked up two reality series: Aptitude Test, from American Idol‘s Randy Jackson, and House of Consignment, starring Chicago fashion entrepreneur Corri McFadden. The hourlong Aptitude Test, from Jackson and Shed Media, will premiere next year. In every episode, a celebrity will retake their high school career aptitude test to determine their “rightful calling.” The celebrity will then don a disguise and undergo on-the-job training before revealing their true identity to their boss and co-workers. “Are we where we should be? Are we doing what we should be doing? Everybody wonders these things … even celebrities,” said Jackson. “The show is a fun look at what could have been.” Executive producing Aptitude Test are Jackson, Abe Hoch, Harriet Sternberg, Joel A. Morgan, Nick Emmerson, Alex Demyanenko and Jennifer O’Connell.
House Of Consignment, which has received a 10-episode order for a January premiere, chronicles the workings of McFadden’s Lincoln Park retain store eDrop-Off, where used couture items from top designers are prepared for eBay auction, and follows McFadden and and her team as they make house calls. The series is executive produced by Stephanie Drachkovitch and co-executive produced by Jennifer Colbert for 44 Blue Prods.
Lifetime has picked up America’s Supernanny, a new U.S. version of the Supernanny format that ran on ABC for six years with original British star Jo Frost. Lifetime calls their series, which has received an eight-episode order, “the first true U.S. version of the hit global format that will feature an American homegrown nanny.” That nanny will be selected through an open casting call launched by Lifetime and series producer Shed Media. America’s Supernanny is scheduled to premiere later this year. “The importance of family and childcare is key to women and we are constantly looking to provide programming that involves what’s important to them,” said Nancy Dubuc, president and general manager of Lifetime Networks. “This program will do just that and showcase America’s Supernanny’s approach and experience to not only entertain parents and their children, but also help them work through any problems they might have.” While Supernanny ended its run on ABC in March, it continues to air on Style, which picked up off-network rights to the reality series two years ago. Prospective nannies can apply at myLifetime.com, while families can call 877-626-6984 or email email@example.com.
The studio’s TV arm has completed its acquisition of one of the UK’s largest independent producers. Warner wanted Shed Media, which makes Supernanny for America, because it wants to expand overseas, replicating the success it has had in America with shows such as The Wire and Gossip Girl – both of which have exported well. Shed will remain an independent producer. Outright Distribution, its TV sales company, will be folded into UK-based Warner Bros International Television Production. But the Outright brand will remain without any job losses.
Shed Media, the UK producer which Time Warner wants for £100 million, has announced a 22% rise in first-half profits to £6.2 million ($4 million). Turnover was also up 27% in the first six months to £59 million. This broke down into £25.5 million from its UK production business, £26.2 million from U.S. production and £7.3 from programmes sales. Chairman Heather Rabbatts singled out the launch of the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? and the continued success of Supernanny in the States as factors behind Shed Media U.S. growth. The Time Warner/Shed Media deal looks set for mid-October.
As predicted, Warner Bros is set to buy Brit TV production company Shed Media, maker of such programmes as Supernanny and The Choir, for around £100 million ($159 million) to boost its presence in the key market. Warner Bros, part of Time Warner, says the price represented a premium of around 73% from July 29, the last business day before the start of the offer period. Warner is buying a 56% stake in the company from Shed’s management. WB says it has received undertakings from around 73% of Shed shareholders backing the deal. Shed says the deal will enable it to grow further, with the backing of a large international group. The studio must have wanted Shed badly. Back in June, the talk was of Warner offering £75 million for Shed. Managers were understood to be holding out for £90 million. Shed executives are now set for a windfall. Exec Alex Graham will earn £12 million from the deal, while Shed co-founder Eileen Gallagher could earn £7.5 million. Graham has already made £20 million from selling his independent TV company Wall to Wall to Shed in 2007. Who says you can’t make money from the entertainment business?
Paris-based Zodiak has bought an 8% stake in UK independent TV producer Shed Media. Another 2% more and Zodiak could stymie Time Warner, which is trying to buy Shed. Cyrte Investments, the investment company of Endemol-founder John De Mol, sold its 7.8% Shed stake to Zodiak on June 1. But the deal has only just come to light in a Stock Market footnote to another Shed investor, Aviva, selling 6% of its shares.
Last month, Zodiak closed a deal to acquire U.K.’s RDF Media Group, already creating the third largest independent TV production company in the world.
Time Warner could pay up to £90 million ($135 million) for Shed. The studio wants Shed, which makes Supernanny for America, because it wants to expand overseas, replicating the success it has had in America with hit shows such as The Wire and Gossip Girl – both of which have exported well. It recently hired ex-Tiger Aspect managing director Andrew Zein to buy independent TV producers and grow Warner Bros’ UK production business.