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Jersey Shore mastermind SallyAnn Salsano is the latest reality producer to sell her shingle. FremantleMedia has acquired a controlling stake in Salsano’s 495 Productions.
Salsano, who saw her CMT freshman Party Down South renewed earlier this week, has had a string of solid unscripted series on cable since Jersey Shore reached its ratings apex on MTV back in 2011. FremantleMedia CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz and FremantleMedia North America CEO Thom Beers announced the purchase on Wednesday afternoon.
“This is a huge moment for me and the entire team at 495,” said Salsano. “That said, the decision of who to partner with and where to make my new home was easy because of my long-term relationships with both Cecile and Thom. They know me, they understand how I run my business and they appreciate the way I produce my shows. I started this company with nothing in 2006 and this is proof that if you love what you do, work your ass off and want it bad enough [that] someone will notice and it will pay off.”
The sale comes on a wave of similar moves in the unscripted sphere. Top Chef producers Magical Elves recently sold to Tinopolis Group, and ITV has purchased Gurney Productions (Duck Dynasty), High Noon Entertainment (?Cake Boss?) and Thinkfactory Media (Preachers’ Daughters) in the last year.
495 Productions’ other series include Tattoo Nightmares, which FremantleMedia already distributes internationally, Repo Games, Friendzone and Jerks With Cameras. The Real, a talk show for which Salsano is EP, recently got a premiere date after a successful test run in 2013.
“495 Productions is undeniably one of the U.S.’s leading reality production companies with a unique approach to formatted, character-driven reality shows, which have proved compelling TV in the U.S. and around the world,” said Frot-Coutaz. “This deal will allow us to expand our share of the valuable U.S. cable market and will complement and diversify our existing portfolio of content and clients. Together, our ambition is to continue to grow 495 Productions in the U.S. and to broaden its global footprint even further through our extensive distribution and production network.”
FreemantleMedia retains the right to acquire the remaining 25 percent shareholding in the future.
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