Reality heavyweight Endemol USA is expanding its scripted TV operations with the launch of Endemol Studios, a Los Angeles-based TV independent TV studio. It will be headed by CEO Philippe Maigret, formerly EVP, North America Acquisitions, who will serve as CEO of the studio, reporting to Endemol North America chairman David Goldberg. Former Fox head of comedy Jeremy Gold, who launched Endemol USA’s scripted TV development division in 2008 and has been overseeing the company’s scripted efforts as SVP scripted programming, will serve as head of creative affairs of the new studio.
When the first project developed by Gold to get to pilot, Hell on Wheels, received the green light by AMC, Endemol didn’t produce it, with the network bringing in Entertainment One instead. Now the company says that the new operation will have the resources to finance the development of scripted projects and, most importantly, to deficit-finance the production of pilots and series. Taking a page from eOne’s playbook, Endemol Studios will focus on U.S. cable drama series. They will be based on original ideas developed internally, as well as scripted formats adapted from Endemol’s international portfolio. The studio also plans to partner with US networks and producers on projects already developed, coming on board in a studio capacity, the way eOne joined Hell on Wheels. This is a major step for an indie company as deficit financing U.S. series is a high-stakes business though working in cable is more predictable than broadcast as series are normally not canceled before they complete their run, making international pre-sales a safe proposition, and budgets are a bit lower than in broadcast. Additionally, the company said it would seek co-productions when needed. Besides the upcoming Hell on Wheels, which it developed, Endemol also own the international distribution rights to TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland, Happily Divorced and The Exes and TNT’s Leverage.