News

US: Original Productions

Original Productions
April 1, 2006

Original Productions
Burbank, US
www.origprod.com

Whether it’s souped-up choppers, plastic surgery or ghost hunters, Burbank-based Original Productions knows what the cable nets want. Since he co-founded the company in 1999, CEO Thom Beers has led Original Productions to become one of the leading suppliers of non-fiction television in the US. How does he keep anticipating what viewers want to watch? ‘The key is that I was an executive myself,’ he says. ‘I spent 11 years learning the cable industry as VP of series and specials at Turner Broadcasting. That gave me a strong understanding of demographics and flow. Also, I have a background in theater as a director and playwright, so I learned how to tell a story.’

Beers also knows what sort of story he likes to tell – and it’s usually geared towards young males. At a time when cable nets are scrambling to attract that elusive demographic, Beers has been able to deliver hit shows that get the ratings. ‘I don’t know why that is, other than it was probably psychedelic abuse in my early days that rewired my brain,’ he jokes. ‘But seriously, I was also just born with a sense of curiosity.’

He says he goes with his gut instinct most of the time. ‘When I see something cool, I grunt like a caveman. It really is that simple. We love doing cool stuff.’ What’s cool to Beers is transformation. ‘Whether it’s auto mechanics or surgery or whatever, I think there’s a curiosity for metamorphosis out there.’

Recent titles: Monster Garage, The Deadliest Catch
Employees: 50 full-time, more on contract
Hours this year: 115
Upcoming includes: Dead Tenants (TLC), Biker Build-Off 2006 (Discovery Channel), Dangerous Seasons (Discovery), Career Criminal Squads w/t, Holiday Madness (TLC), The Messengers (TLC)

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.

Menu

Search