elcome to our 13th edition of the Global 100, Realscreen‘s annual snapshot of the best production companies working in the non-fiction and unscripted visual content industry, compiled with input from the industry itself.
As with past lists, we polled execs from across the business and our readership, asking them to weigh in on the companies that they feel are trusted partners, as well as the prodcos whose work they consistently admire, and the programming from the past year that struck a chord. As usual, it was difficult to pare the results down to a list 100 companies strong, and meant to represent the non-fiction production communities of multiple territories.
This year, you will notice within these pages a fair amount of newer companies being profiled, as opposed to some of the veteran companies who have graced the list and its profiles often. While the results still feature a healthy number of those veteran companies, many of which have been on the Global 100 since its inception, we thought shining the spotlight on up and coming companies that are making an increasingly strong impact across platforms would spice up the proceedings, and highlight some of the new blood that is capturing your attention, and that of viewers as well.
Before we move on to the list, a familiar caveat: companies owned by broadcasters that do the majority of their work for that broadcaster have historically not been represented in the list. But as those companies increase their production for third parties, they are then admissible.
And now, your Global 100.
Editor and content director
Number of employees: 40
Number of hours produced in 2018: 55
Recent projects: Carnival Eats (Food Network); Sarah Off the Grid (HGTV)
Upcoming projects: An Accidental Wilderness(CBC); untitled Sarah Richardson project (HGTV); Around the World in 10 Meals (Gusto); Northern Gold (TVO, pictured)
Founded in 2012 by James Hyslop, Toronto-based Alibi has produced over 500 hours of content across genres, ranging from factual to scripted, and from brand funded to kids. On the factual front, the prodco also makes it a point to diversify, with content ranging from lifestyle (HGTV’s Sarah Off the Grid and Food Network’s Carnival Eats) to specialist factual (Secrets of the Pyramids).
Praised by collaborators for “clear direction and open communication” and for “building a culture of storytelling, teamwork and innovation,” while also recognized in nominations from outside of its home territory for delivering “heart warming” content that “works well internationally,” the prodco is currently prepping the documentaries Spaceman and An Accidental Wilderness for the CBC, more Carnival Eats and Sarah Off the Grid, and yet another series featuring the host of that program, Canadian designer Sarah Richardson. Barry Walsh
PEACOCK ALLEY ENTERTAINMENT
Number of employees: 8
Number of hours produced in 2018: 30
Recent projects: Tower of Song; A User’s Guide to Cheating Death
Upcoming projects: Jensplaining; 50 Ways to Kill Your Mama
Established in 2012 by former Tricon Films & Television exec Carrie Mudd, Peacock Alley has created a name for itself through smart yet entertaining storytelling. That approach is easily seen in such series as A User’s Guide to Cheating Death, hosted by Professor Timothy Caulfield and sold to numerous broadcasters globally while also streaming on Netflix. The series, now in its second season, has garnered multiple accolades and awards (including a nod for best science and technology program at the most recent Realscreen Awards) and its second season is being shopped globally by Sky Vision.
Network execs and production peers who cast votes for Peacock Alley cited the prodco’s ability to punch above its weight, and its dedication to producing what Caulfield calls “fun programming that matters.” In the near future, look for more of that in the form of Jensplaining, featuring Twitter’s resident gynaecologist Dr. Jennifer Gunter for the CBC, and its North American adaptation of the Channel 4 format, 50 Ways to Kill Your Mama. BW
MORE CANADIAN GLOBAL 100 PRODCOS
(Company name, titles, HQ, website)
Big Coat Productions
Love It or List It
Stalker Files; It Happened Here
Mayday; Property Brothers; American Pickers
Fear Thy Neighbor; The Dictator’s Playbook
Growing Up Hip Hop; LadyGang
In Plain Sight; Still Standing
Great Pacific Media
Heavy Rescue: 401; Highway Thru Hell
Amazing Race Canada; The Launch
Media Headquarters Film & Television
Canada’s Smartest Person
I Am Paul Walker; I Am Heath Ledger
Jade Fever; Wild Bear Rescue
Hellfire Heroes; Rogue Earth
Vegas Rat Rods; MasterChef Canada
Mosquito; A Day in the Life of Earth
Headquarters: Culver City, CA
Number of hours produced in 2018: Approximately 60
Number of employees: 75, including staff and freelancers
Recent projects: Murder in the Heartland (ID); Could You Survive the Movies? (YouTube); 9 Months with Courteney Cox (Facebook Watch)
Upcoming projects: Lost Gold of World War II(History)
Founded four years ago by former AMC and XBox Entertainment Studios exec Ari Mark and former Studio Lambert producer Phil Lott, Ample has garnered substantial praise and greenlights from networks across the cable spectrum and top digital platforms such as Facebook Watch and YouTube. Production partners have included Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV (Cooper’s Treasure for Discovery) and Blumhouse Television (Cold Case Files for A&E). This past year saw the prodco strike overall deals with Courteney Cox (resulting in the Facebook Watch series 9 Months with Courteney Cox, which premiered in January), veteran producer John Henshaw and former Raw TV producer Ed Gorsuch.
With a flair for delivering access-driven content with visual panache, Ample received, well, ample praise from various execs during our nomination process, with one partner specifically highlighting the team’s “incredible taste, style and attention to detail.” According to co-founder Mark, that’s all thanks to the company’s “filmmaker mentality.”
“We wrote a manifesto when we started the company,” he told Realscreen in a March 2018 interview. “And aside from not being jerks, it also says that we need to stay true to the passion.”BW
DORSEY PICTURES (a Red Arrow Studios company)
Headquarters: Littleton, Colorado
Number of hours produced in 2018: 137
Number of employees: 105
Recent projects: Building Alaska, Maine Cabin Masters, Building Off the Grid (DIY); Living Alaska (GAC); Slenderman Stabbing: The Untold Story(Reelz)
Upcoming series: Dog’s Most Wanted (WGNA); Accident, Suicide or Murder (Oxygen); season 10 of Building Alaska, season 4 of Maine Cabin Masters (DIY)
Far enough from the frantic pace of New York or Los Angeles, Dorsey Pictures, founded by Chris Dorsey and nestled in Littleton, Colorado (estimated population: 47,734) has built a rock-solid roster of lifestyle, outdoor and branded content over its 15-year history. The company has produced more than 1,000 hours of programming for such cable nets as Discovery, History, National Geographic, HGTV, DIY, Travel Channel and others, and with its recent move into the true crime space, is broadening both its content offering and its network partner portfolio, with the recent Slenderman Stabbing: The Untold Story airing on Reelz and Accident, Suicide or Murder on the way for Oxygen.
Many of its outdoor and lifestyle titles are several seasons deep — DIY’s Building Alaskawas recently renewed for a 10th season and the prodco is behind four of the Discovery Inc. net’s top 10 series, including Maine Cabin Masters. But an upcoming series for WGN also garnered substantial attention in late 2018. Dog’s Most Wanted, featuring crime-fighting duo Dog the Bounty Hunter and wife Duane Chapman is in production, and is the first unscripted series to come from the network in more than five years.
Praise for the prodco came from myriad corners of the industry — network execs, coproducers and talent. From one frequent network collaborator: “Chris Dorsey, along with his talented team, have been wonderful productions partners: extremely collaborative and consistently delivering a great looking product at a reasonable cost.” BW
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CORPORATION (an Industrial Media company)
Headquarters: Los Angeles
Number of hours produced in 2018: 78
Number of employees: 26, up to 300 freelancers depending on volume of production
Recent projects: Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath (A&E); Active Shooter (Showtime); This Giant Beast That Is the Global Economy(Amazon Prime); Mind Field (YouTube)
Upcoming projects: #FreeMeek (Amazon Prime); 1989: The Year that Made the Modern World (Nat Geo)
Only a few years after its formation, The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC) has made significant headway in the unscripted space, with Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath (pictured) for A&E racking up strong ratings and Emmy recognition, including a win in 2017. Company principals and former Miramax colleagues Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman (who co-founded the shop following successful stints at Studio Lambert and All3Media America) hit the ground running in 2016 with the Remini project and Active Shooter, a riveting exploration of the sad reality of gun violence in the U.S. airing on Showtime.
It wasn’t long before larger companies began taking notice and making overtures to acquire IPC. It was Core Media, a brand with a sizeable portfolio including American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance producer XIX Entertainment as well as Sharp Entertainment, that won the day, offering Holzman and Saidman the opportunity to run a revamped Core, now trading under the Industrial Media moniker, as CEO and president respectively.
IPC has also made good strides in producing for non-linear platforms, with Amazon Studios bringing them on board for This Giant Beast That Is The Global Economy (a collaboration with Vice and The Big Short helmer Adam McKay) as well as the upcoming #FreeMeek, about rapper Meek Mill, and YouTube as the home for popular science series Mind Field. BW
Headquarters: Los Angeles, New York
Number of hours produced in 2018: 109+
Number of employees: 50+
Recent projects: Queer Eye (with Scout Productions for Netflix); The Four (in association with Armoza Formats for Fox); Hell’s Kitchen (in association with A. Smith & Co. for Fox); The First 48 (A&E)
Upcoming projects: Love Island (CBS); Queer Eye: We’re in Japan! (Netflix)
Under the creative oversight of ITV America chief creative officer David Eilenberg and ITV Entertainment EVP Alex Dundas, ITV Entertainment had a big year in 2018, complete with three Emmy wins for the Queer Eye reboot (pictured), produced with Scout Productions and perhaps Netflix’s most popular entry into the unscripted game. Season three premiered March 15.
Meanwhile, Hell’s Kitchen featuring Gordon Ramsay (produced in association with A. Smith & Co.) is still heating up Friday nights for Fox as it wrapped its 18th season (picked up for seasons 19 and 20), and The First 48 continues its reign as a top five true crime series on U.S. cable, after 17 seasons on A&E. Another edition of the franchise, The First 48 Presents: Homicide Squad Atlanta, debuted in January. Music competition series The Four, produced in association with Armoza Formats, aired seasons in winter and summer.
As the summer of 2019 approaches, all eyes will be on the American arrival of UK format phenomenon Love Island, as it hits CBS. BW
SHARP ENTERTAINMENT (an Industrial Media company)
Headquarters: New York City
Number of hours produced in 2018: 150
Number of employees: 150
Recent projects: 90 Day Fiancé (TLC); Love After Lockup (WE tv); Man V. Food (Travel Channel)
Upcoming projects: 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way (TLC)
Headed by Matt Sharp, this New York-based shop has a hit franchise on its hands in the form of 90 Day Fiancé, which garnered its highest ratings in the W18-34 demo over the course of its most recent, sixth season. Thanks to Fiancé, TLC topped cable for Sunday nights in that demo, averaging 2.5 million P2+ viewers.
But 90 Day Fiancé isn’t the only success story in Sharp’s portfolio at present. Love After Lockup, a series following couples that are starting fresh after one partner is released from incarceration, has locked down serious ratings for WE tv, and has emerged as the fastest growing new cable reality series of the past year. “Matt is talented and hardworking, everything you could want in a creative partner,” WE tv orginal programming EVP Lauren Gellert tells Realscreen. “Love After Lockup is a very difficult show to produce, and he and his team make it look seamless.”
Coming soon: another installment of the Fiancéfranchise, 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way, in which U.S. citizens leave their home country to join their partners overseas. BW
Headquarters: Los Angeles
Hours produced in 2018: 10+ hours
Recent projects: Ugly Delicious season 1, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Upcoming projects: Ugly Delicious season 2, Abstract: The Art of Design season 2, Shangri-La
Founded by filmmaker Morgan Neville in 1999, this Academy Award-winning, Los Angeles-headquartered prodco has built its reputation by crafting acclaimed films about music, art and culture. Over the past two decades, Tremolo has produced four Grammy-nominated films: Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble; Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story; Muddy Waters Can’t Be Satisfied; and Johnny Cash’s America.
Other notable Tremolo projects include the 2013 feature documentary, 20 Feet from Stardom, which shone the spotlight on the contributions of the back-up singers to notable hitmakers. The film took home the 2014 Academy Award for best documentary and a Grammy award for best music film.
Tremolo Productions’ output for 2018 included the release of its award-winning film Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (pictured), which became one of the highest grossing documentaries of all time. The 94-minute feature, helmed by Neville, tells the life story of TV and cultural icon Fred Rogers, the beloved host of the long-running children’s series, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The film collected a slew of nominations and awards, including three nods at the 2018 Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards in the categories for best documentary, best director and best editing.
Other recent projects include the David Chang-fronted culinary series Ugly Delicious and the design docuseries Abstract: The Art of Design, both for Netflix. Additionally, Tremolo’s They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, about the making of Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind, bowed on Netflix this past November. Selina Chignall
MORE U.S. GLOBAL 100 PRODCOS
(Company name, titles, HQ, website)
Thinkfactory Media (an ITV America company)
Marriage Boot Camp; Mama June: From Not to Hot
Los Angeles, CA
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