Producer-distributor Lionsgate has acquired a stake in UK-based production house Primal Media, the new company launched by Gogglebox Entertainment founders Mat Steiner (pictured, right) and Adam Wood (left).
Primal Media will focus its efforts on developing and producing non-fiction titles across Britain, as well as working alongside Lionsgate’s alternative programming team in the U.S. to produce American formats for the UK. Additionally, Lionsgate will distribute Primal Media’s content worldwide and will produce formats owned by Primal Media for the U.S. and worldwide market.
The newly minted shingle has already secured its first two commissions with a third season deal for ITV2′s award-winning competition series Release the Hounds and a sophomore season of BBC1′s quiz show The Code, both scheduled for broadcast in 2017.
Steiner and Wood’s formats have sold across the world, amassing six Emmys, a Realscreen Award and, in 2016, a Royal Television Society Award for best entertainment. Their unscripted production credits include such series as ITV’s Cash Cab and The Exit List; Channel 4′s Playing It Straight; GSN’s Man v. Fly; and MTV International’s Plain Jane.
The announcement follows a wave of recent deals initiated by Lionsgate in an effort to expand its unscripted output, including acquiring a stake in North Hollywood-based Pilgrim Studios, and securing overall television deals with unscripted producers David Shumsky and Mark Harris, Jonathan Karsh and K.P. Anderson. Most recently, the company moved to acquire U.S. pay-TV network Starz.
The deal was negotiated by Laura Kennedy, executive VP of TV operations and corporate development for Lionsgate; Alexandra Keen, executive VP of business and legal affairs for Lionsgate UK; and Malcolm Murray, Lucy Strauss and Jeremy Gawade at Lee & Thompson (representing Lionsgate) and Michael Brader and Medwyn Jones at Wiggin (representing Primal Media).
“The deal is a win-win as it provides Mat and Adam the support they need to grow Primal Media while enabling Lionsgate to enhance our footprint in the UK, to expand the pipeline for our U.S. business and to access a fabulous library of product that can be distributed worldwide,” said Lionsgate Television Group chairman Kevin Beggs in a statement.
“While Lionsgate is a global player in the television space, it continues to have an entrepreneurial spirit that aligns perfectly with what we are trying to accomplish as we develop Primal Media into a major player creating both entertainment and factual entertainment formats with global appeal,” added Steiner and Wood.