The unscripted production unit will operate as Evolution Media, an MGM Company, and will continue to work out of its current Burbank headquarters.
Evolution’s founder and CEO Douglas Ross (pictured, left) will become president of the acquired company, while Alex Baskin (right) has been lifted to president of programming and development from his previous post of EVP of programming and development.
Under the deal, Ross and Baskin will both report to Barry Poznick, MGM’s president of unscripted television.
Evolution Media has, since its founding in 1987 by Ross, produced more than 50 unscripted series including the inaugural seasons of CBS’s Big Brother and NBC’s Fear Factor. The company’s current production stable includes such hit series as Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Orange County, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Vanderpump Rules and Sweet Home Oklahoma; E!’s surgical series Botched; and Lifetime’s forthcoming Growing Up Supermodel.
“After 30 years of being fiercely independent, we couldn’t be more proud and excited to join forces with the dynamic, creative and supportive leadership team at MGM,” said Ross in a statement. “We look forward to working with Gary, Mark and Barry to supercharge Evolution and to write the next chapters in the company’s history with them.”
The acquisition of Evolution Media further fortifies MGM Television’s unscripted presence across the television landscape. MGM currently boasts hit series on all four major TV networks, including CBS’s Survivor, NBC’s The Voice, ABC’s Shark Tank and Steve Harvey’s Funderdome, and Fox’s Beat Shazam.
In a statement, Burnett lauded Ross and Baskin for their “talent and drive,” adding that the acquisition would “help our MGM Television ‘hit machine’ to continue to grow and grow.”
“The shows that Evolution produces are a perfect complement to our slate,” added Poznick. “Their slick style, high quality and one-of-a-kind casts connect with audiences and generate epic social media engagement.”
Evolution Media was represented in the transaction by Bryan Bowles and Ron Milkes of Bryor Media Partners and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton. MGM was represented in the transaction by Latham & Watkins LLP.