US-based AMC Networks has invested in Canadian prodco Shaftesbury, in what has been described as a “strategic partnership” with the Murdoch Mysteries firm.
Financial details have not been revealed but the deal will give AMC Networks access to Shaftesbury’s slate and allow it to expand its content and development capabilities in Canada.
In return, AMC says that the new partnership will help to grow Shaftesbury’s existing and future slate of content across all genres, while also creating more opportunities for Canadian creators in front of and behind the camera.
Shaftesbury CEO and chairman Christina Jennings will continue to lead the creative focus of the company and its day-to-day operations, alongside EVP Scott Garvie.
Feeding AMC’s pipeline
The deal builds on the two companies’ existing production relationship, with Shaftesbury currently serving as the studio on AMC-owned Acorn TV titles including all 14 seasons of Murdoch Mysteries.
The investment will also hand AMC Networks a steady pipeline of content with which to fuel its myriad global channel and streaming brands, including flagship AMC, SundanceTV and BBC America on the network side. Streaming services under the AMC umbrella include AMC+, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK.
AMC also operates in-house production and distribution division AMC Studios, which has been behind The Walking Dead.
Josh Sapan, AMC Networks president & CEO, described Shaftesbury as an “ideal partner” for his company, as it looks to expand “our focus on sourcing premium content and IP for distribution across our own platforms as well as to third parties.”
As part of the investment, two AMC Networks directors will join Jennings, Garvie and Michael Levine on Shaftesbury’s board of directors. These are Harold Gronenthal, EVP of programming and marketing for AMC Networks International, and Matt Graham, GM of the AMC Networks-owned Acorn TV streaming service.
Jennings said: “This new partnership will leverage the broad expertise of AMC Networks and Shaftesbury to deliver significant growth opportunities for the development, production, distribution and reach of our content.
“Getting Canadian stories and creative talent in front of the international market has always been Shaftesbury’s mission – this relationship will give us a big leg up.”
Sapan added that the deal would allow AMC Networks to expand its productions capability in Canada and praised Shaftesbury’s founder. “Christina has built a world class production company with a long track record and reputation for creating high quality content that resonates in markets around the world.”
The Canadian firm is behind a raft of scripted shows, such as Departure for Global/Corus Entertainment and NBCUniversal’s streamer Peacock, detective drama Frankie Drake Mysteries for CBC and UKTV, and horror series Slasher, for AMC-owned streamer Shudder.
It has also produced three seasons of Hudson & Rex for Citytv/Rogers Sports & Media, Dead Still for Ireland’s RTÉ, Acorn TV and Citytv, and The Sounds, for CBC, Acorn TV and Sky NZ.