Ryan Seacrest Prods., Endemol Shine Strike Mega-Deal (Exclusive)
The strategic relationship will offer RSP's unscripted division scale and reach as it looks to be a major player in the format business.
In a bid to gain both scale and reach, Ryan Seacrest is jumping into business with Endemol Shine.
His production company's unscripted division has struck a significant deal in which it will partner with the global reality powerhouse. Though it's not being characterized as an acquisition, the Ryan Seacrest Productions' group will join Endemol Shine North America’s growing cadre of subsidiary companies, including Authentic Entertainment, Original Media, True Entertainment and 51 Minds. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the transaction is expected to close in December of this year.
“Ryan is not only one of the TV industry's leading broadcasters, but over the last decade, he has also proven to be one to the top producers of unscripted programming in the world,” said Endemol co-CEOs Cris Abrego and Charlie Corwin in a joint statement. “We are thrilled Ryan and his talented team will join our family of award-winning production companies at Endemol Shine, where we can now offer unmatched global distribution and resources."
Added Seacrest: “Of all the potential partners, there’s no doubt Endemol Shine is the best fit for our unscripted division. This new partnership enables us to retain our brand independence, while also giving us a fantastic opportunity to access international resources, invigorating our storytelling possibilities, and helping us scale the business in a smart way.”
The move should offer RSP’s lean unscripted group significantly more leverage — to say nothing of access — when it comes to international formats, an area in which any untethered independent would struggle in today's increasingly competitive landscape. Though nine-year-old RSP has continued to line its portfolio with cable docusoaps, including E!’s still vital Kardashian franchise as well as Shahs of Sunset and ABC Family’s upcoming transgender series Becoming Us, it has yet to crack a big, fat broadcast format. The latter has long been an elusive goal of Seacrest and his executives. (Sources say RSP will be involved in the not-yet-announced Bruce Jenner transgender series on E! as well.)
News of the pact comes as co-chiefs Corwin, a long-time Seacrest pal, and Abrego, have seen their power soar, assuming leadership in the merging of Endemol’s and Shine’s stateside efforts (with purview of Core Media Group as well) late last year. With a collection of shows that includes Big Brother, MasterChef and American Idol, they recently jumped to No. 2, behind uber-producer Mark Burnett, on THR’s Most Powerful Reality Players List. As it pertains to this deal, RSP will continue to buy and sell as its own brand while leaning on the reach and resources of far bigger player Endemol. Jeff Refold and Eugene Young will continue as RSP's COO/CFO and unscripted programming president, respectively.
Seacrest's scripted fare will remain entirely separate. RSP’s scripted division, overseen by Nina Wass, inked a two-year overall deal with CBS TV Studios in August of 2014. Though considerably better known for its unscripted offerings, the Los Angeles-based company's scripted output has included ABC’s Mixology and NBC’s forthcoming straight-to-series Jennifer Lopez drama Shades of Blue. The standard pact with CBS incorporates cable, broadcast and digital offerings.
Seacrest’s many other partnerships remain unaffected as well. Among them: hosting gigs on Fox’s American Idol, which is expected to returned with him already attached for a 15th season, and Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest on ABC as well as "On Air with Ryan Seacrest" and a nationally-syndicated Top 40 radio show. His pact with NBCU is ongoing, too, and includes on-air broadcasting and producing duties across the NBC and E! (via its red carpets). In a interview with THR last year, Seacrest confirmed that he also had been having conversations with NBC Sports about collaborating on the 2016 Olympics coverage in Rio, as he did the London games in 2012.
Outside of the traditional entertainment realm, Seacrest launched a men’s clothing line, Ryan Seacrest Distinction, at Macy’s late last year. In fall 2016, the collection is set to expand into tailored clothing and accessories and will include sweaters and outerwear. On the entrepreneurial end, Seacrest has investments in Civic Entertainment Group, Pinterest and FlightCar, among others. Additionally, he made independent investments in DigiTour Media and cable network AXS TV.
Hansen Jacobson represented Endemol/Shine N.A. and RSP in the deal.