The latest piece in Legendary Entertainment‘s TV operations has fallen into place, with the company saying today it is forming a global television distribution division that will be headed by veteran Michael Grindon, who had been head of Sony Pictures Television International for 15 years. Grindon will report to Bruce Rosenblum, president of Legendary Television and Digital Media, who since being hired last spring has overseen the expansion of Legendary’s TV unit that now has the capacity to develop, finance and self-distribute its fare worldwide.
It’s the latest big movie for Legendary, which in December bolstered its TV roster with its first acquisition, nabbing indie producer Asylum Entertainment for north of $100 million by outbidding rivals in the midst of Legendary’s first development season, when it set up several projects. The plan is for Asylum to serve as a production label for non-scripted, long-form, sports and other genres. That deal jump-started Legendary’s unscripted and documentary production and gave it a toehold in longform programming, an area Asylum is building with Legendary’s help. It also has been adding execs including Tom Lesinski, President, Digital Content and Distribution; Gaumont International Television COO Richard Frankie as EVP Business Management; Wonderland’s Peter Johnson as EVP Scripted Series Development; and Greg Siegel from Break Media as SVP Development and Production.
Grindon will help build and operate a global distribution infrastructure at Legendary Worldwide Distribution and hire and oversee a team to handle the sales, marketing and servicing of all Legendary TV programming worldwide. The division will also look to handle international distribution for other indie production companies.
“Legendary is well-positioned and ready to take this next step in the expansion of our global television studio infrastructure, and Michael is the perfect partner to execute on this vision with us,” Rosenblum said in announcing the news. “He has successfully operated at the highest levels of the international marketplace and acutely understands the shifting landscape. I’m confident he’ll build a nimble and innovative infrastructure that will enable Legendary to deliver on its promise of producing and distributing quality television content on a worldwide basis.”
Said Grindon: “We are going to build a worldwide TV distribution operation, territory by territory, that balances our experience at the major-studio level with a clear understanding of our client’s needs, in all media, in this rapidly evolving television environment.”
Grindon most recently oversaw Grindon Media, a consulting firm specializing in media distribution and TV production. His clients included Media Rights Capital, which he assisted on the international rollout of House Of Cards. In his tenure at Sony, annual division revenues grew from less than $100 million to more than $2 billion.