NBCUniversal Acquires Stake in Canadian Producer of ABC Crime Series 'Motive'

Motive Premiere Episodic Lauren Holly Joey McIntyre Brad Penny - H 2013
Carole Segal/ABC

Michael Edelstein, president of NBCUniversal International Television Production, also unveils a first-look and distribution deal with Lark, whose other hit show is "Real Housewives of Vancouver."

LONDON -- NBCUniversal International Television Production has acquired a minority stake in Canadian independent TV producer Lark Productions, which produces ABC crime series Motive together with Foundation Features.

Michael Edelstein, president of the NBCUniversal unit, and Lark founder and president Louise Clark also announced a new first-look and distribution deal.

Financial details of the agreements weren't disclosed.

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Lark develops scripted and unscripted shows for the Canadian and international markets. Its hit shows include reality show Real Housewives of Vancouver, which it has produced for Shaw and Canada, and Motive for CTV and ABC. Motive, which has also sold across Europe as well as in Australia and Brazil, was a steady ratings draw for ABC over the summer and has been renewed for a second season.

Motive, starring Kristin Lehman and Louis Ferreira as Vancouver homicide detectives, identifies killer and victim at the start of each episode before explaining the connection between them.

NBCUniversal said its investment in Lark "further cements an already close collaborative working relationship that began with Lark's inception in 2010," when the entertainment giant provided development financing and acted as an international distributor for several productions.

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"We have tremendous confidence in Louise and her team," said Edelstein. "Our working relationship with Lark has been incredibly fruitful over the past three years, and we are immensely proud of what they have accomplished. I look forward to working with Lark in the years to come and giving their shows the global reach they deserve."

Clark will continue to run Lark's operations, but the production outfit plans to scale up operations and is looking to hire a COO. It has also appointed Ed Robinson, a Canadian TV veteran who used to work at CTV and the CBC, as an independent director on its board.

Clark is a former vp program development for CTV and also used to serve as the Ontario Film Development Corporation's head of production and development. 

Said Clark: "Michael and the team share our passion for making great television, and we're already talking about a number of exciting new projects."

The deal adds to NBCUniversal's portfolio of international production businesses, which also include Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films, Monkey Kingdom, Lucky Giant and Chocolate Media in the U.K., as well as Matchbox Pictures in Australia and a joint venture with Working Title Television.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai