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AMC Networks, the owner of AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and BBC America, is making a strategic investment in Canadian indie producer Shaftesbury Films, maker of the long-running family drama Murdoch Mysteries.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Shaftesbury CEO and chairman Christina Jennings, who will continue in the top post, told THR that AMC Networks was making a “significant and strategic” investment in her company, which would remain Canadian-owned and -controlled.
As the cable networks company expands in the streaming space, Jennings added AMC Networks will acquire Shaftesbury’s top shows from its Canadian programming slate, which also includes Hudson & Rex and Frankie Drake Mysteries, and do more content development and production in Canada.
The Canadian producer, which will also have Scott Garvie remain on board as executive vp, already feeds series to AMC Networks’ Acorn TV streaming service, including all 14 seasons of Murdoch Mysteries. Without offering details, Jennings said Shaftesbury has already set up three new series at different AMC Networks platforms.
AMC Networks also operates the AMC+, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK streaming services and continues to talk up its niche streaming services as profitable and having potential for international rollouts, even as major Hollywood studios opt for more generalized streaming services like HBO Max and Peacock.
“Christina has built a world class production company with a long track record and reputation for creating high quality content that resonates in markets around the world,” Josh Sapan, AMC Networks president and CEO, said in a statement.
AMC Networks is also continuing to exploit The Walking Dead franchise, even as the previously announced 11th season of the zombie drama will be its last, with 24 episodes to be stretched over two years.
The company will enlarge the Walking Dead world with straight-to-series order for a third spinoff drama that follows Norman Reedus (Daryl) and Melissa McBride (Carol), set to launch in 2023 as the flagship drama ends its run.
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