Endemol is having a rough time of it. Strangled with debt, the UK-based TV producer has informed lenders it is likely to breach the terms of its loans at the end of 2011. Nevertheless, Endemol is still making acquisitions and has just bought a half-share in Brit gossip website Holy Moly to extend the brand into TV. The site, which in a good month attracts 1 million unique visitors, already made one unsuccessful TV pilot for MTV back in 2009. (DJ presenter Matt Edmondson sat in a cave snarking at celebrity news.) The website’s founder Jamie East tells me he wants to use Endemol’s investment to start covering more TV, fashion, music and film news apart from celebrity tattle, which he thinks is a dying market. “The celebrity stuff has flattened over the past 18 months,” East tells me. “Celebrities these days are using social media to put their point of view across more easily, making them appear much more human.” Last year, The Times of London named Holy Moly as one of “40 Bloggers Who Really Count” alongside Nikki Finke.
Despite Endemol USA’s format 101 Ways To Leave A Gameshow about to premiere on ABC on June 16, the company is is rough shape. Endemol is €2.4 billion ($3 billion) in debt after a 2007 buyout. Spanish shareholder Telecinco, the TV company owned by Silvio Berlusconi, has already written off the €1.4 billion it invested in the producer. Last year’s company revenues were flat at just more than €1.2 billion, and earnings are expected to fall to €140 million this year. Back in 2007, Endemol was earning €230 million a year.