Thunderbird launches UK production division

The new venture, led by Ed Sayer, has already lined up a factual coproduction deal with Endemol-owned prodco Workerbee.
June 5, 2019

Thunderbird Entertainment has launched a global production venture based in the UK to foster partnerships with international prodcos.

This new division will be led by Ed Sayer (pictured), former head of original commissioning at Discovery International. He will develop Thunderbird’s IP with global partners, with a focus on factual content, to expand their international reach, as well as form joint ventures and acquisitions. The role is based in the UK and reports to Thunderbird president Mark Miller.

The launch of the venture, according to Miller, marks Thunderbird’s push into international coproduction, which will be a key focus moving forward. The production venture will include scripted as well as factual properties.

The first partnership under the UK venture is with the Endemol Shine Group-owned Workerbee. The prodco will coproduce original factual content in the UK and expand Thunderbird’s existing factual IP.

“The international production scene, including the UK, is undergoing massive creative renewal, and every region has its own nuances, which is something to be embraced,” said Sayer in a statement. “Rather than building traditional startups in every territory, we’ve decided to launch a division that collaborates with talent, both in terms of companies and individuals, as a facilitator and partner.”

Sayer will work closely with Matthew Berkowitz, who was recently appointed CCO of Thunderbird and Atomic Cartoons and is based out of L.A. Among Thunderbird’s most recent IP acquisitions is the YA novel The Marrow Thieves, now in development for a TV series, adapted by author Cherie Dimaline and Jann co-creator Jennica Harper.

Thunderbird first entered the UK market in 2014 with the acquisition of distributor Soda Pictures. The distribution outfit was later rebranded as Thunderbird Releasing.

By Kelly Townsend. This story originally appeared in Playback Daily.

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