Former ESPN executive Connor Schell has partnered with film and TV prodco Chernin Entertainment (Ford v Ferrari) to produce high-end unscripted content for the global marketplace.
The partnership will see Schell (pictured), who stepped down as ESPN’s EVP of content in November, serve as the CEO and founder of a new non-fiction content studio, which will produce stories both inside and outside of the sports world.
Jenno Topping, president of Chernin Entertainment, will oversee the company’s collaboration with the new studio, including a mutual first look whereby she and Schell will identify opportunities to develop projects based on stories in their respective scripted and unscripted genres.
The deal was spearheaded by CEO and chairman Peter Chernin and The Chernin Group co-founder and partner Jesse Jacobs, citing the industry’s increased demand for “resonant, unscripted content as the foundation for a promising, value-building investment.”
Chernin Entertainment is the sole investor in the new venture. Schell, Chernin and Jacobs will serve on its board of directors.
In addition to leading the Disney-owned sports mediaco’s global content creation, Schell co-created and produced the acclaimed ESPN franchise ’30 for 30,’ served as a producer and EP on the Oscar-winning doc O.J.: Made in America and executive produced Netflix’s The Last Dance.
At the time of his departure, the executive announced plans to form his own production shingle.
Chernin said in a statement: “Connor is by far one of the most prolific and talented producers of non-fiction storytelling and brings us a track record and instinct for creating culturally resonant and commercially viable content at a time when demand is high, and supply is low. The opportunities to make a difference and reach audiences with important stories are endless.”