Lionsgate, 'Release the Hounds' Producers Launch U.K. Unscripted Banner

Release the Hounds H
Sony Pictures Television

The studio is backing a new indie, Primal Media, led by Gogglebox Entertainment founders Mat Steiner and Adam Wood.

Lionsgate is launching a U.K.-based unscripted house, Primal Media, to be led by Mat Steiner and Adam Wood, founders of Sony’s now-defunct Gogglebox Entertainment and producers of Release the Hounds.

Lionsgate will hold an unspecified controlling stake in the new U.K. indie as it develops and produces unscripted programming in the U.K. The reality TV banner will also work with Lionsgate’s alternative programming team to make U.S. formats for the U.K. market.

Steiner and Wood are veteran format creators, with credits that include the horror/game show hybrid Release The Hounds for ITV2, Cash Cab for ITV, The Code for BBC1 and Man v Fly for GSN and The Sun. Their other TV credits include Playing It Straight for Channel Four, Plain Jane for MTV International, Move Like Michael Jackson for BBC3 and The Exit List for ITV.

Lionsgate will distribute Primal Media’s content worldwide and produce formats owned by Primal Media for the U.S. and worldwide markets. Lionsgate backing Steiner and Wood builds on the studio's earlier strategic investment in unscripted producer Pilgrim Studios to complement its fast-growing scripted TV slate.

"As Lionsgate’s Television Group expands its capabilities in the unscripted market, Mat and Adam are the perfect addition to our growing family of first-rate reality companies and best-in-class producers who are developing formats with global reach,” said Kevin Beggs, chairman of Lionsgate's TV division, in a statement.

"The deal is a win-win as it provides Mat and Adam the support they need to grow Primal Media while enabling Lionsgate to enhance our footprint in the U.K., to expand the pipeline for our U.S. business and to access a fabulous library of product that can be distributed worldwide," Beggs added.

Primal Media's first two commissions are the third season of Release The Hounds and a second season of The Code, both for 2017. "While Lionsgate is a global player in the television space, it continues to have an entrepreneurial spirit that aligns perfectly with what we are trying to accomplish as we develop Primal Media into a major player creating both entertainment and factual entertainment formats with global appeal," Steiner and Wood said in their own statement.

The deal to launch Primal Media was negotiated by Laura Kennedy, executive vp TV operations and corporate development for Lionsgate; Alexandra Keen, executive vp business and legal affairs at Lionsgate UK; and Malcolm Murray, Lucy Strauss and Jeremy Gawade at Lee & Thompson, representing Lionsgate, and Michael Brader and Medwyn Jones at Wiggin, representing Primal Media.