1:00pm PT by Mikey O'Connell
Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine Acquires SKR Productions in Unscripted Push
Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine continues to expand — now bolstering its unscripted efforts with the acquisition of Sara Rea’s SKR Productions.
Rea, a reality veteran who recently launched Amazon's Making the Cut after almost a decade working on Project Runway, comes in-house at Hello Sunshine as the production company makes its most significant moves to date in alternative programming with the recent launch of Netflix's Get Organized and sale of competition My Kind of Country to Apple.
“Sara has led an incredibly talented team whose values and goals reflect everything we believe in at Hello Sunshine and I’m inspired by all they have accomplished,” said Witherspoon. “With shows like Making the Cut, SKR has bridged television and the consumer experience in such an innovative way, opening up new possibilities for what content can do. I am beyond thrilled to welcome them to our team as we continue to grow and expand our mission to put women and underrepresented voices at the center.”
Under the deal, Rea assumes the role of head of unscripted television at Hello Sunshine, joined by her team — including Sue Kinkead, Danielle Ghilardi Birckhead, Tyler O’Neill and Elizabeth Sandroff. Birckhead, senior vp physical production and operations, will notably work alongside Hello Sunshine CFO Liz Jenkins as the company expands to provide a full range of in-house physical production services. “I am inspired by what Reese and the Hello Sunshine team are creating,” said Rea. “That, in conjunction with us having such perfectly aligned goals, has all of us at SKR excited to join Hello Sunshine and grow the unscripted division. This is truly one of those rare one plus one equals ten opportunities and we can’t wait to get to work.”
Hello Sunshine has had a considerable impact on Hollywood since Witherspoon launched the media company in 2016 — not just debuting such massive titles (and Witherspoon vehicles) as Big Little Lies, The Morning Show and Little Fires Everywhere, but pushing for better representation for women on and behind the camera. The company is also home to Witherspoon's book club, which has doubled as a pipeline for IP, as well as a suite of podcasts. Rea's arrival signals a doubling down on unscripted programming, as Hello Sunshine already has an enviable track record in scripted.
“Since launching Hello Sunshine I feel tremendous pride about what our team has done in championing storytelling and storytellers in film, scripted and unscripted television, animation, audio and through Reese’s Book Club," said Hello Sunshine CEO Sarah Harden. "The response of audiences demonstrates the clear desire for narratives that explore the full range of women’s lived experiences. But we have so much more work to do and in Sara we have found exactly the right leader and partner to accelerate our growth in Unscripted. Sara shares our vision, passion and ambition and brings a fresh, innovate. and creative sensibility to everything she does.”
Additional SKR productions include Project Runway Threads, Project Runway Junior, The Naked Truth and digital series Pranks Southern Women Play.