Endeavor invests in Rebecca Quinn & Jennifer O’Connell’s Velvet Hammer

L-R: Jennifer O’Connell and Rebecca Quinn

US entertainment group Endeavor has taken a minority stake in LA-based Velvet Hammer Media (VHM), the unscripted firm launched by former HBO Max execs Jennifer O’Connell and Rebecca Quinn earlier this year.

This latest investment by Endeavor comes as the firm looks to further expand its unscripted footprint, having acquired Asylum Entertainment Group – the parent company of production companies The Content Group, Texas Crew Productions, Big City TV, Breaklight Pictures, and Audity – in March.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Greg Akselrud and Roger Lee of Stubbs, Alderton & Markiles, and Todd Weinstein and Tara Senior of Weinstein Senior advised VHM on the transaction.

Since launching in February, with a focus on creating, producing and distributing original non-fiction content, VHM has secured multiple series greenlights with a range of streamers and networks, including The Big Bakeover for The CW and Roku’s Empty Nest Refresh.

VHM also has development deals and projects in the works at Netflix and NBCUniversal, among other platforms. Co-founders and co-CEOs O’Connell and Quinn serve as executive producers on all projects, with VHM also providing production services.

The execs were both ousted from HBO Max during the post-merger restructuring last year, with O’Connell havng joined HBO Max in 2019 as EVP, non-fiction and live-action family originals, before she was let go from the streamer when it cut 14% of its staff in August 2022. She had been responsible for its unscripted and alternative programming and also served as head of feature documentaries and docuseries for the platform. She launched titles including Love, Lizzo, Low Country: The Murdaugh Dynasty and What Happened, Brittany Murphy?

Quinn, meanwhile, had served as SVP of non-fiction original programming for HBO Max, where she was responsible for a slate of reality programming including ballroom dance series Legendary, streetwear design competition show The Hype, and dating F-boy Island.

“Over the course of their careers, Jen and Rebecca have developed and produced some of television’s most provocative shows, entertained broad audiences, fueled the zeitgeist, and reflected our culture in dynamic and surprising ways.

“The moment we learned they had branched out on their own, we wanted to be in business with them,” said Rebecca Sanhueza, EVP of content strategy & development and head of non-scripted content at Endeavor.

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