Original Productions (Burbank)
What do you do for an encore when you have one of the biggest shows on cable? Think of an even bigger one, of course.
Original Productions has made talked-about TV for some time now, putting together a string of hits like Monster Garage, Biker Build-Off and the celebrated Discovery offering Deadliest Catch, but it followed them up last year with what could be an even bigger coupe. Ice Road Truckers launched on The History Channel to 3.4 million viewers, the net’s most-watched original programming broadcast. Perhaps more importantly to a network looking to skew younger, the premiere averaged 2 million viewers in the Adult 25-to-54 demo and 1.8 million viewers in the Adult 18-to-49 demo. Those are the kind of numbers that get you renewed.
In November of last year, Original expanded in two important directions. First, it brought on veteran Kerri Zane as VP of women’s programming to spearhead its development of female-oriented unscripted series. Secondly, it launched uberSight, a sister company dedicated to working with corporate partners to find marketing solutions for brands looking to reach television audiences in non-traditional ways. Both moves open up a slew of new opportunities for the company.
Out of all those accomplishments, what is Original head Thom Beers most chuffed about? ‘I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve built Original Productions into a full-fledged media company: production, product integration, music publishing, post, Web content provider and film library. We also continue to grow and refine our brand of ‘high risk/high reward’ programming that works so well for the male 18-to-34 demographic. We’re making non-fiction programming for eight different networks and now we have our first scripted drama commitment from AMC and a feature film fully financed. Life don’t get much better for this knucklehead TV producer from upstate New York.’
Hours this year: 130-plus
Recent titles: After the Catch, Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers, Ocean Force
Current/upcoming titles: 30 hours for NBC, Deadliest Catch season 4 (Discovery), Ice Road Truckers season 2 (History Channel), Iditarod (Discovery), Ax Men (History), 1000 Ways to Die (Spike), Black Gold (TruTV), Raw Nature (Animal Planet), Small Medium at Large (A&E)