Unscripted

MGM takes 55% stake in Mark Burnett’s companies

The media giant has acquired a 55% stake in One Three Media and Lightworks Entertainment, which it will consolidate into new venture United Artists Media Group. (Pictured L-R: Mark Burnett, Gary Barber, Roma Downey)
September 22, 2014

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) has acquired a 55% stake in Mark Burnett, Roma Downey and Hearst Entertainment’s production companies One Three Media and Lightworks Entertainment.

The deal covers all of their interests in Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank, The Apprentice and The Bible, which the U.S. media giant will consolidate into the new venture United Artists Media Group (UAMG), which will develop, produce and finance scripted and unscripted TV shows, movies and digital content.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Burnett will serve as CEO of UAMG and Downey will serve as president of LightWorkers Media, UAMG’s faith and family division. One Three Media COO Brian Edwards will now serve as the COO of UAMG.

In their new roles, Burnett and Downey will develop all UAMG projects and work with MGM’s distribution and marketing divisions to create a seamless business structure.

“Mark and Roma are without a doubt the most successful and dominant players in unscripted television and faith-based content, and we are excited to be distributing UAMG content worldwide,” said MGM chairman and CEO Gary Barber (pictured, center with Burnett and Downey) in a statement. “Together with Hearst Entertainment’s vast array of media assets and knowledge, MGM could not have wished for better partners to continue to grow the MGM business of creating premium content for distribution across multiple platforms.”

MGM is planning to launch an OTT faith-based channel that aims to become “a singular destination for audiences of faith worldwide and on every screen,” according to the company. Programming will mix original content, premium film and TV catalog titles, Christian music videos, sermons from global religious leaders, national and regional congregation portals, and user-generated short-form videos.

Last week, Burnett inked a straight-to-series deal with ABC to coproduce the game show 500 Questions with Warner Horizon Television. He is also behind the upcoming El Rey Network series Lucha Underground and TNT’s On The Menu, both set to premiere next month.

The deal with MGM comes after Burnett and Downey signed on to produce MGM and Parmount’s feature film remake of Ben-Hur.

The United Artists banner dates back to 1919. The last time MGM revived the name was in 2006 as part of a deal with producers Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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