FremantleMedia Buys 25 Percent Stake in U.K. Firm Launched by Former 'Top Gear' Executive Producer

Courtesy of Cecile Frot Coutaz
FremantleMedia CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz

Gary Hunter's Wild Blue Media will focus on creating "new returnable brands with broad international appeal across factual, factual entertainment and live events."

RTL Group-owned TV production giant FremantleMedia, the company behind the Idol franchise and other hit shows, has acquired a 25 percent stake in new production company Wild Blue Media, led by former BBC executive Gary Hunter, who worked as executive producer on the first five seasons of Top Gear starting in 2002.

Financial details weren't disclosed, but FremantleMedia has the option to increase its stake in the future.

"Wild Blue will focus on creating new returnable brands with broad international appeal across factual, factual entertainment and live events," the companies said Wednesday in a statement. 

Hunter won an Emmy in 2012 for the BBC/NatGeo/Red Bull feature documentary Space Dive.

“After a wonderful 12 years at the BBC and a stint with the hugely talented team at Studio Lambert, I am delighted to be working under my own banner," said Hunter.

"Gary has a fantastically fresh and original development slate, plus a wealth of experience and knowledge that complements FremantleMedia," said CEO FremantleMedia Cecile Frot-Coutaz. "We are thrilled to welcome him to our network, as we continue to invest in the best talent around the world."

FremantleMedia has been on a global buying spree of late, acquiring companies or stakes in them. Among firms Fremantle has done deals with are Man Alive Entertainment and Naked Entertainment in the U.K., Israel's Abot Hameiri, Dutch factual group No Pictures Please, U.S. reality TV group 495 Productions and such scripted outfits as British Corona Pictures in the U.K., Fontaram and Kwai in France and Italy's Wildside.

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