Fremantle runs with Motion Inc.

Firms to put urban sports parkour and freerunning on TV

NEW YORK -- FremantleMedia Enterprises is betting that parkour and freerunning, up-and-coming disciplines of urban gymnastics that have already attracted an online crowd, can draw a TV audience.

The company said Thursday that it has invested in and signed an exclusive partnership deal with Motion Inc., a specialist in the disciplines in the U.S., to grow the phenomena into global entertainment brands and league competitions.

FremantleMedia North America, the producer behind such TV hits as "American Idol" and "America's Got Talent," is already developing a TV series featuring parkour.

Parkour, first developed in France but now a growing phenomenon among athletic youths in many cities of the world, is defined as "getting somewhere quickly and efficiently using the human body," while freerunning is defined as "moving through your environment however you want, moving your way and following your own path."

The disciplines have also made appearances on the big screen, such as in the opening sequences of "Casino Royale" in 2006 and in "The Bourne Ultimatum" in 2007. Millions of videos featuring young people jumping over fences and park benches, running up walls and bouncing off cars or other urban obstacles have been accessed on YouTube.

Keith Hindle, CEO Americas for FME, announced the deal.

"Parkour is the 'it' sport," said Eugene Young, chief creative officer at FMNA. "Already an extremely compelling visual phenomenon on the Internet, we plan to bring it to a much wider audience via broadcast and cable."

Motion Inc. was established by sports and media executives, such as TV executive Lee deBoer and producer Les Haber, media lawyer Daniel Rayner, sports and entertainment industry veteran Bobby Goldwater, and one of the foremost parkour and freerunning practitioners, Mark Toorock. Others involved in the company are strategic media consultant David Polakoff and an advisory board including Brett Haber, former president of NFL Enterprises Ron Bernard and Ultimate Fighting Championship creator and producer Bob Meyrowitz.