CBS Corporation has struck a four-year first-look and co-financing strategic partnership with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Television Studios to develop scripted, unscripted and long-form digital content.
The multiyear deal will allow Imagine to partner with CBS to co-produce and co-own programming for the CBS TV, CBS All Access and Showtime, as well as for non-CBS affiliated platforms. CBS’ platforms will also have first look at Imagine’s latest series, with the American network’s production unit, CBS Television Studios, serving as a production partner and worldwide distributor for programming produced as part of the agreement.
Imagine, meanwhile, will retain distribution rights in certain Asian territories, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
Grazer and Howard’s Imagine most recently received 16 Emmy nominations for its television programming, including for Genius, which garnered 10 nominations, and for The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years, which took five nominations. The production company also helms National Geographic’s acclaimed scripted-unscripted hybrid series Mars (pictured) and science anthology series Breakthrough.
The partnership with CBS marks Imagine’s latest moves to secure co-financing, having recently secured an independent US$100 million co-financing deal with investment company TVB Ventures to develop and produce projects for television.
“For the past 30 years, the hallmark of Imagine’s success has been in cultivating storytellers to create aspirational, exciting and unique films and television series,” said Grazer in a statement. “We intend to sign exclusive overall deals with inventive talent, including writers and filmmakers, to create a modern content studio that values collaboration with autonomy.”
“Imagine Television series always stand out for their quality, creativity and ability to connect with audiences,” added CBS Corporation chair and CEO Leslie Moonves. “This agreement aligns our broadcast, pay cable and streaming businesses with a best-in-class partner, and represents another strategic opportunity to own and distribute more content across a dynamic television landscape.”