Former HGTV Exec Anna Gecan Launches Cross-Border Factual TV Agency (Exclusive)

9:00 PM PST 10/01/2012 by Etan Vlessing

New York-based Global Spark Media will craft Canadian factual and lifestyle series like "Holmes on Homes" and "Property Brothers" for the U.S. and U.K. markets.

TORONTO – After remaking the HGTV U.S. channel with Canadian series like Holmes on Homes, Property Brothers and Property Virgins, former HGTV exec Anna Gecan is launching Global Spark Media to craft Canadian factual and lifestyle series for the U.S. and U.K. markets.

The New York-based co-production agency will build on the successful cross-border show formats Gecan developed at HGTV after leaving HGTV Canada as vp content in 2009 to oversee original content creation at the Knoxville-based sister channel.

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Global Spark Media will work with American and British TV networks and digital platforms to develop and finance tailor-made shows with Canadian partners at reduced production risk and cost.

“Many U.S. and U.K. broadcasters have had great success in acquiring Canadian factual content, but few have adopted our model that allows for creative input and production in their territory,” Gecan said.

Global Spark Media will in turn help Canadian producers find international markets for local series.

Gecan is launching her venture during a major inflection point for the Canadian TV industry.

Faced with dwindling government subsidies and new digital technologies at home, Canuck TV producers are having to sell their scripted and nonscripted shows, many of which are developed in Los Angeles with locally based Canadian creative talent, into the foreign market as never before.

And Canadian broadcasters are commissioning scripted dramas like ABC’s Rookie Blue, The CW’s The L.A. Complex and NBC’s Saving Hope that U.S. networks can import from the Great White North without having to produce or pay a high license fee.

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Global Spark Media is already at work on a cross-border series with U.S. broadcaster TLC and Canadian indie producer Big Coat Productions.

As vp original programming, Gecan had HGTV U.S. buying up more Canadian-made shows like Selling New York, Holmes Inspection and Income Property as the U.S. and Canadian partners shared new series concepts and costs.

Global Spark Media, to include a Toronto office, will do the same for other foreign broadcasters and producers looking to jump on board co-productions with Canadian factual producers.

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