Global super-indie FremantleMedia has acquired a majority stake in 495 Productions, the U.S. indie founded by SallyAnn Salsano (pictured) and best-known for creating MTV’s Jersey Shore.
The deal, for an undisclosed sum, will see FremantleMedia taking a 75% holding with the opportunity to acquire the remaining shareholding in the future.
In a statement, FremantleMedia CEO Cécile Frot-Coutaz said: “495 Productions is undeniably one of the U.S.’s leading reality production companies with a unique approach to formatted character-driven reality shows which have proved compelling TV in the U.S. and around the world.
“This deal will allow us to expand our share of the valuable U.S. cable market and will complement and diversify our existing portfolio of content and clients. Together, our ambition is to continue to grow 495 Productions in the US and to broaden its global footprint even further through our extensive distribution and production network.”
In addition to Jersey Shore and its multiple spin-offs – which have included Snooki and JWOWW, The Show with Vinny and The Pauly D Project – 495′s catalog includes Spike TV’s Tattoo Nightmares (which FremantleMedia already distributes internationally) and Repo Games; Oxygen’s Tattoos After Dark; MTV’s dating show Friendzone, and the BET daytime syndicated talk show The Real, for which Salsano is the EP.
Thom Beers, CEO of FremantleMedia North America, said: “SallyAnn is a brilliant leader, an unstoppable creative force and one of the most successful producers in the entertainment industry.
“This is a key strategic acquisition for FMNA which, with both Original Productions and 495 Productions in the fold, now commands a best-in-class production slate across all family, male and female demos, and for network, cable and syndication platforms.”
Salsano added: “This is a huge moment for me and the entire team at 495. That said, the decision of who to partner with and where to make my new home was easy because of my long term relationships with both Cecile and Thom.
“They know me, they understand how I run my business and they appreciate the way I produce my shows. I started this company with nothing in 2006 and this is proof that if you love what you do, work your ass off and want it bad enough, someone will notice and it will pay off.”