ITV has acquired a controlling stake in Thinkfactory Media, the US producer that made Hatfield & McCoys, one of the most successful shows ever on US cable TV.
The UK broadcaster has paid US$30 million for a 65% stake in Thinkfactory with an option to acquire the remainder in a two-year window that opens three years after the initial deal closes. The final payment will be linked to Thinkfactory’s performance over the period in question.
ITV has already bought into the US production sector with Gurney Productions and High Noon Entertainment sitting alongside the core ITV Studios America division.
Thinkfactory was formed in 1992 by veteran producer Leslie Greif (pictured). As well as Hatfields & McCoys its other new scripted series include Whitey, for A&E and Hit Men for Spike. It also makes reality shows including R&B Divas, Preachers’ Daughters and Marriage Bootcamp: Bridezillas.
International TV companies are increasingly keen to establish a presence in the US production sector as the growth of cable continues and the number of channels commissioning original content increases.
Adam Crozier, chief executive of ITV plc, said: “We’re gathering real momentum in building a substantial US presence, which is central to our strategy of creating a strong international content business. The acquisition of Thinkfactory Media is clearly a further significant step forward in achieving that goal.
Paul Buccieri, managing director of ITV Studios International and president and CEO of ITV Studios America, added: ” Leslie can effortlessly flow between producing scripted and reality shows – a skill increasingly admired by cable TV buyers.”
Speaking to TBI last year about the success of Hatfields Greif said: “Honestly, it’s hard to process the numbers. I always believed people wanted to watch epic stories; networks around the world shouldn’t be afraid to make epic programming.”
Greif, who co-created CBS’ long running series Walker, Texas Ranger, is now working on a new Texas Ranger series for History.