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Unrealistic Ideas — the production company led by Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Archie Gips — is expanding its interests by aligning with social media phenom Josh Richards and his business partner Michael Gruen to launch CrossCheck Studios.
The new production company will focus on Gen Z content creators across all sectors of entertainment with an eye on becoming the go-to company for internet-native creatives. Per today’s announcement, the team has put together a slate of material that is being kept under wraps for now while, at the same time, scouting new projects. Richards, 19, tells The Hollywood Reporter that the content covers a range of genres and will likely kick off in the unscripted and docuseries space.
Unrealistic Ideas will support CrossCheck projects through development and production and help with staffing and other resources. For the new entity, Richards will serve as CEO with Gruen, Richards’ business partner, taking the title of president. In a statement as part of today’s news, Wahlberg said he’s looking forward to being in business with Richards and joining forces on CrossCheck Studios. “I am impressed with Josh and all of the things he’s already accomplished,” he said.
Richards called it an honor to partner with Wahlberg and the Unrealistic Ideas team. “This is a real passion project for me that I’m going to pour my heart and soul into. We’re going to have a lot of fun along the way and build something great together. I would like to thank Mark, Lev and Archie for believing in a 19-year-old from a small town in Ontario. Now, let’s get to work.”
CrossCheck is the latest business endeavor for Richards, who is publicly known for his social media presence with 24.2 million TikTok followers and 7.4 million Instagram followers. He also hosts the BFFs podcast with Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy. Privately, he’s parlayed his success into various business ventures through investments and as owner or co-founder of companies such as Ani Energy, Sillybandz and TalentX Entertainment. The latter company is a talent representation firm that was also co-founded by Gruen.
“When I met Josh, it was evidently clear that he was destined for greatness,” Gruen said. “Josh continues to defy the norm for social media influencers as he expands into business, finance, entertainment and now taking on Hollywood. The duo of Mark and Josh is distinctly unique and will be invaluable when creating content to cater towards multiple demographics.”
Added Gips: “Josh and Michael are wise beyond their years and truly have their finger on the pulse of their generation. Unrealistic Ideas is excited to work hand in hand with them in developing innovative concepts with fresh new faces.”
The news comes on the heels of an announcement that Unrealistic is shepherding a limited docuseries about the rise and fall of MoviePass in partnership with Assemble Media and Insider (formerly Business Insider). The company is also in the podcast and feature documentary space and is known for McMillions and the upcoming Wahl Street set for HBO Max.
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