After making a big investment on the scripted TV side by acquiring 51% of the Mark Gordon Co. for $133 million to launch an independent studio, Entertainment One is mulling a move in the unscripted US space. I have learned that the UK- and Canada-based film and TV company is in discussions to acquire David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe’s production company Renegade 83, which is behind Discovery Channel’s hit Naked & Afraid. I hear conversations are still in early stages. eOne would not comment.
Garfinkle and Renfroe, who launched Renegade 83 in 1994, created Blind Date in 1999. The company has produced more than two dozen unscripted series for broadcast (Capture, Ready for Love), cable (Naked & Afraid, Men Women Wild) and first-run syndication (Blind Date, Excused). The company also has a scripted credit, USA Network’s sci-fi series The 4400.
There had been a major consolidation in the U.S. unscripted space, with many independent companies being acquired, mostly by European congloms, including ITV. Most recently, Canadian-American company Lionsgate bought more than 50% of Craig Piligian’s very successful Pilgrim Studios for about $200 million.
As for eOne, the company’s recent acquisitions include a 70% stake in Peppa Pig producer Astley Baker Davies worth $212 million.