‘Live PD’ Producers Acquired by MGM Television
Big Fish Entertainment also brings with it VH1’s ‘Black Ink Crew’ into Mark Burnett’s reality fold.
MGM has acquired unscripted indie house Big Fish Entertainment. The reality producers, best known for the A&E hit Live PD, will now operate within Mark Burnett’s growing unscripted powerhouse.
"Dan Cesareo is an innovator who has grown Big Fish into a dynamic company,” Burnett said of the Big Fish founder and president, who will remain president under the new ownership. We are going to have fun together. When you combine Big Fish, Evolution, MGM and Orion, we now have hits ranging across all television."
Big Fish Entertainment produces Live PD, which is often cable's top-rated series on Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as the VH1 franchise Black Ink Crew and WE’s Soul & Hustle. Cesareo will report to MGM Television unscripted president Barry Poznick.
"Big Fish has created a wide-range of programming that is compelling, edgy and must-watch. We are excited to put the full support of MGM Studios behind Dan and the team to make Big Fish even bigger," said Poznick.
MGM has certainly reignited the trend of buying up independent reality producers, having also acquired Vanderpump Rules and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills powerhouse Evolution Media in 2017.
"Big Fish Entertainment has been built over many years by the hard work and commitment of an enormously talented team of showrunners, development executives, producers, editors and many other dedicated professionals,” said Cesareo. “We’ve also had amazing support of buyers that backed our creative and our risk-taking. I am truly thrilled now to be part of the MGM family, which will allow Big Fish to scale and broaden, while keeping the brand’s spirit of agility and independence intact. I’m beyond excited to work with Mark, Barry and their entire team as we begin a new chapter."
The 12-year-old company will retain its name and New York City headquarters.
Big Fish Entertainment was represented in the transaction by Todd Weinstein and Tara Senior at Del Shaw Moonves, Lori York at CAA, Steve Hurdle at Loeb & Loeb and Ron Milkes and Bryan Bowles of Bryor Media. MGM was represented by the law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP.