MGM has been pushing into unscripted programming in a major way since it bought full control of Burnett’s United Artists Media Group at end-2015.
Evolution will now operate as an independent producer within the MGM group, with company founder and CEO Douglas Ross (pictured) becoming president. Executive VP of programming and development Alex Baskin will become president of programming and development.
The firm will remain in its Burbank headquarters, with Ross and Baskin reporting to MGM president of unscripted television Barry Poznick.
Financial terms of the deal were not revealed.
Evolution is best known for The Real Housewives of Orange County, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules for US cable channel Bravo.
MGM is currently producing unscripted series Survivor for CBS, The Voice for NBC, Shark Tank and Funderdome for ABC and Beat Shazam for Fox in the US.
“The shows that Evolution produces are a perfect complement to our slate,” said Poznick. “Their slick style, high quality and one-of-a-kind casts connect with audiences and generate epic social media engagement. I’m proud to welcome them to the team and together we will continue to produce content that makes headlines.”
Burnet, MGM’s president of television and digital, said Ross and Baskin would “help our MGM Television ‘hit machine’ to continue to grow and grow”.
“After 30 years of being fiercely independent, we couldn’t be more proud and excited to join forces with the dynamic, creative and supportive leadership team at MGM. We look forward to working with Gary [Barber, MGM chairman and CEO], Mark and Barry to supercharge Evolution and to write the next chapters in the company’s history with them.”
MGM also produces dramas including Fargo for FX, The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu and Vikings for History.