STV Studios has added a new unscripted label to its portfolio in the prodco Hello Mary.
The Brighton-based Hello Mary is the eighth label in the STV family. The prodco was founded by Steve Regan in 2019. Its titles in the two years since then include the dating pilot One Night Stand?, which launched last week on E4, as well as The Buildings That Fought Hitler (UKTV’s Yesterday), Survivors (A&E), How Animals Talk to Each Other (Sky) and Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer Take Over (TCM). Hello Mary also recently announced a new commission for Discovery in the eight-part paranormal series Trapped Underground.
STV Studios has taken a 25% stake in Hello Mary. The move follows STV acquiring Barefaced TV last year and taking a minority stake in the drama company Two Cities. In 2019, STV acquired a majority stake in Primal Media. STV also has an exclusive creative partnership with drama producer Elaine Collins and her company Tod Productions.
STV’s unscripted titles already include Catchphrase, the new commission The Bridge of Lies and Primal Media’s new Sky Arts series Landmark. STV Studios Factual also recently announced Ian Rankin will write a new genre-bleeding mystery series for Channel 4, Murder Island, as well as a new commission for BBC1 in The Traveling Auctioneers.
Prior to establishing Hello Mary, Regan was head of development and production at Viacom where he commissioned hits like Geordie Shore and Ex On The Beach for MTV. He also oversaw entertainment at Channel 5, and worked as a commissioning editor at Channel 4, Sky1 and Living.
“Setting up on your own is hugely exciting and over the last two years Hello Mary has scored a number of commissions across many genres, but we are hugely ambitious in how we want to grow,” Regan said in a release. “Partnering with David and STV Studios made total sense to help us realize our ambitions in unscripted.”
STV also announced its half-year financial results on Thursday. The studio has had a strong year with revenue and adjusted operating profit rising ahead of pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, viewership is up by 5% on STV, and 66% on STV Player online. STV CEO Simon Pitts attributed the viewership increase to Euro 2020, The Pembrokeshire Murders miniseries, and STV’s Player-exclusive boxsets which now makes up 40% of its on-demand viewing.
“Ahead of expectations, STV has returned to pre-pandemic levels of growth and profitability, thanks to the strength of our programming, the success of our diversification strategy, and the commitment and creativity of our people,” Pitts said in a release.
“Our strategy of creating a more diversified business through a relentless focus on digital and production growth is delivering. STV Studios is going from strength to strength, winning 15 programme commissions so far this year, and we’re delighted to be filming new, large scale returnable formats in Scotland like drama series Screw (C4), quiz show The Bridge of Lies (BBC1) and the genre-bending Murder Island (C4), as we aim to become the UK’s leading nations and regions producer.”