Fifth Season’s Chris Rice talks up coproductions & unscripted as budgets face squeeze


Fifth Season (fka Endeavor Content)’s co-CEO Chris Rice believes coproductions will become even more important as the pressure on streamers and their US studio parents grows.

The Severance and Tokyo Vice firm’s co-chief told delegates at Content London that the budgets for shows would likely reduce, repeating comments from Warner Bros. Television Studios’ Channing Dungey.

Chris Rice

As budgets recalibrate from highs of $15m per episode to $5m, the expectation is that organisations will now be more open to sharing rights, said Rice.

“We’ve all seen the pressure on media companies but for us, that is as much of an opportunity as a challenge,” said Rice. CJ ENM-owned Fifth Season has been behind copros such as Tokyo Vice and Normal People, as well as Killing Eve and The Night Manager.

“We won’t see a collapse in shows being bought… we feel unbelievably excited by what those changes can bring to the market and what those challenges can mean for co-productions with networks, which were before looking to fully own.”

Rice also expects the ongoing shift to more cost-efficient unscripted shows is likely, with his comments coming two weeks after Fifth Season hired former Blumhouse TV exec Mary Lisio to head up and expand its non-scripted and documentary development & production business.

Fifth Season’s current documentary and unscripted slate includes Omnivore, which explores the planet and its relationship with food, for Apple TV+. It is being produced and narrated by Noma chef Rene Redzepi, co-produced with Film45.

Other titles include Showtime’s feature documentary 2nd Chance and Being Mary Tyler Moore, with Lena Waithe and Debra Martin Chase producing.

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