Insight, FremantleMedia make financing deal

Companies to co-fund scripted, unscripted projects

TORONTO -- Toronto-based Insight Production Co. and FremantleMedia Enterprises, already first-look partners, took their relationship a step further Monday, unveiling a development financing deal to co-fund scripted and unscripted projects.

Insight founder and CEO John Brunton said that he and FremantleMedia will pool development money, with a focus on co-venture opportunities for both scripted and non-scripted content.

He added that Insight and FremantleMedia intend to partner with international broadcasters and producers, including U.S. players, to get projects the script funding.

Projects already underway at Insight and FremantleMedia include a new version of the "Ripley's Believe It or Not" TV franchise that will be unveiled at MIPCOM later this week.

The project will be done in partnership with Ripley Entertainment, a division of the Vancouver-based Jim Pattison Group, and shopped in the U.S. market by the William Morris Agency.

Meanwhile, Insight will continue to have first option for Canada on new FremantleMedia formats, which it will produce. And FremantleMedia will continue to distribute Insight shows internationally. The current pipeline includes the Canadian comedy "The Jon Dore Show" -- also for sale at MIPCOM.

Insight and FremantleMedia initially joined forces six years ago when Brunton and his team began to produce "Canadian Idol" for the CTV network. Both parties signed their first look agreement in 2006, as Insight was to produce "Project Runway Canada."

In turn, Fremantle sold Insight's teen drama "Falcon Beach" into 100 markets, including to ABC Family in the U.S.

The new agreement was brokered by Jeff Tahler, FremantleMedia vp of acquisitions Americas; Lisa Honig, FremantleMedia vp of program distribution North America; and Jane Rimer, Insight's head of international creative and business development.