UPDATED: Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun’s TV/digital/film production company has set up shop at MGM for television and film. BermanBraun, which just came out of a five-year stint at NBCUniversal, has signed an exclusive multiyear production deal with MGM Television to create and develop scripted and unscripted programming for broadcast and cable. The agreement, the first such production pact for MGM Television, which has been in a rapid expansion mode, came together pretty quickly only two weeks after BermanBraun’s most recent deal at NBCU expired. “It was a real meeting of minds,“ said Roma Khanna, President, Television Group & Digital, MGM Television.”The idea of this deal is to say that our appetite is large for quality productions, that we want to work with the best talent and are smart about the TV projects we put together.”
Berman and Braun took several meetings but ultimately opted to go with upstart MGM vs. a traditional TV studio because of their plan to aggressively build their TV operation. “We’re exited to be part of their expansion, it gives us an unique opportunity to spread our wings,” Berman said.
BermanBraun and MGM TV both have experimented with not-traditional production models, something BermanBraun is employing in their summer NBC series Camp, which was done as a straight-to-series, lower license fee show. MGM TV is behind History’s Vikings, which went straight to series and is made as an international co-production, as well as FX’s straight-to-series limited series Fargo. Khanna noted that MGM “got lucky” to land the two straight-to-series orders but is staying “flexible”, pursuing both non-traditional and traditional pilot development and willing to deficit finance/co-finance its projects. MGM’s focus remain on cable dramas, though Khanna hopes to expand into unscripted series via BermanBraun’s expertise in the arena. Meanwhile, BermanBraun had serviced NBCU’s cable networks, including producing Syfy’s Alphas, though its primary focus for the past five years has been on broadcast, supplying NBC. The deal with MGM “really allows to get (the cable drama) part of our business jump-started, so our interests aligned beautifully in that,” Berman said,. In addition to Khanna, BermanBraun will work with Steve Stark, President, TV Production, MGM Television. On the BermanBraun side, Gene Stein, President of Television, will be leading their team in the new venture.
MGM has also signed BermanBraun to a first-look deal on all theatrical projects they are developing and will work directly with Jonathan Glickman, President, Motion Picture Group, MGM. The theatrical executive from BermanBraun is Andrew Mittman, Head of Feature Film Development.
MGM Television also co-produces Teen Wolf with MTV, currently in its third season; and recently received a straight-to-series commitment from FX on a new event series based on the film Fargo. In the Fall, Orion Television, another MGM company, will distribute court-room show Paternity Court. MGM Television is also the U.S. distributor for Right this Minute, a series based on web videos.
BermanBraun got a series on the air every year of its deal at NBCU. The comapny’s television roster also includes new HGTV series Garage Sale Wars; Showtime’s Polyamory and two new series to be produced with MythBusters stars Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage for Discovery Channel. The digital division at BermanBraun operates such sites as Wonderwall, GLO, Pawnation, Mandatory, Skye and Mom.me. On the feature side, the company has comedy Rentaghost starring Ben Stiller set up at Fox and a movie version of the best-selling self-help book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus starring Reese Witherspoon at Lionsgate Summit.