Television

FremantleMedia acquires stake in 495 Productions

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MUMBAI: FremantleMedia, has signed a deal to acquire a majority stake in 495 Productions, a US-based production company, known for its cutting edge reality programming.  Under the terms of the deal, FremantleMedia will have a 75 per cent holding with the opportunity to acquire the remaining shareholding in the future.

This acquisition adds another strong and prolific US production companies into FremantleMedia’s increasingly diverse group of North American holdings, alongside its subsidiary FremantleMedia North America (“FMNA”) and previous acquisition Original Productions.

Founded in 2006 by SallyAnn Salsano, one of the preeminent US entertainment producers and creators, 495 Productions is a formidable hit factory specialising in riveting unscripted character-driven reality series with colourful personalities at their heart.  The company developed and produced the pop-culture phenomenon series Jersey Shore, which went on to become MTV’s highest-rated show in its history and a global hit with multiple spin-offs including Snooki and JWOWW, The Show with Vinny and The Pauly D Project.

Other ground-breaking productions include Spike TV’s Tattoo Nightmares, which FremantleMedia already distributes internationally, and Repo Games; MTV’s dating show Friendzone and the daytime syndicated talk show The Real for which SallyAnn Salsano is the executive producer. 

The company also produces recent ratings hits Jerks with Cameras for MTV, Tattoos After Dark for Oxygen and Party Down South, which has quickly established itself as CMT’s highest-rated series ever.

FremantleMedia  CEO Cécile Frot-Coutaz in a press statement said, “495 Productions is undeniably one of the US’s leading reality production companies with a unique approach to formatted character-driven reality shows which have proved compelling TV in the US and around the world.  This deal will allow us to expand our share of the valuable US cable market and will complement and diversify our existing portfolio of content and clients.  Together, our ambition is to continue to grow 495 Productions in the US and to broaden its global footprint even further through our extensive distribution and production network.”

FremantleMedia North America CEO Thom Beers added: “SallyAnn is a brilliant leader, an unstoppable creative force and one of the most successful producers in the entertainment industry. Since founding the business 2006, she and the talented creative team at 495 Productions have built the company into a powerhouse responsible for some of the most watched and talked about programming on TV at the moment. This is a key strategic acquisition for FMNA which, with both Original Productions and 495 Productions in the fold, now commands a best-in-class production slate across all family, male and female demos, and for network, cable and syndication platforms.”

495 Productions has enjoyed great success in the US with shows airing across major broadcast and cable networks including a long-standing relationship with MTV and other Viacom channels such as Spike, CMT and VH1 and more recently with Fox, TLC, SyFy, Oxygen, National Geographic, TV Guide, A&E, Lifetime and History Channel.  Additionally, the company has recently signed a multi-year deal with Warners’ Telepictures Productions for SallyAnn’s services as executive producer on new shows for syndicated television, the first of which, The Real, launches this fall.  The company’s production team and the casts of its shows have been nominated for Daytime Emmy Awards and People’s Choice Awards and have won Teen Choice Awards for two years in a row.

495 Productions founder SallyAnn Salsano commented: "This is a huge moment for me and the entire team at 495. That said, the decision of who to partner with and where to make my new home was easy because of my long term relationships with both Cecile and Thom. They know me, they understand how I run my business and they appreciate the way I produce my shows. I started this company with nothing in 2006 and this is proof that if you love what you do, work your ass off and want it bad enough someone will notice and it will pay off."

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