BREAKING: Blumhouse has launched an independent television studio with ITV Studios acquiring a 45 per cent stake. This investment, which values the company at $80 million, according to sources, gives Blumhouse Television the ability to be a true independent studio with the ability to finance and producing original scripted and unscripted ‘dark’ genre programming aimed at global audiences.
The first two series in the deal will be a series version of The Purge, the highly successful genre franchise that will continue as a feature, for USA and Syfy. Also, Showtime has secured the previously announced Secure and Hold: The Last Days of Roger Ailes, a limited series spearheaded by Oscar winning Spotlight director and co-writer Tom McCarthy and journalist Gabe Sherman, who broke all the sordid allegations of sexual harassment in New York Magazine that prompted Ailes’ ouster at Fox News. Ailes has repeatedly denied the allegations as women continue to come forward, even as the cross hairs have turned toward Fox News’ cornerstone star, Bill O’Reilly. Despite those allegations, they come across like two foxes turned loose in hen house.
Blumhouse Television continues with co-Presidents, Marci Wiseman and Jeremy Gold, who’ve extended their long term deals as part of the partnership with ITV. They report to Blum and Blumhouse president Charles Layton, all of whom will join ITV on the board of the independent TV company.
Blumhouse Television will team with Universal Cable Productions and franchise creator James DeMonaco on The Purge, which will air on USA and Syfy. The franchise — about one day each year when murder and mayhem is legalized — hatched its highest grossing effort so far with the recent The Purge: Election Year. While the next Purge feature will be released by Universal summer 2018, DeMonaco will oversee the series which will be an entirely new chapter in America’s 12 hours of annual lawlessness. Platinum Dunes and DeMonaco’s longtime producing partner Sebastien K. Lemercier will executive produce the series.
Showtime is the new component for the provocative Blumhouse Television series Secure and Hold: The Last Days Of Roger Ailes, about the fall of Roger Ailes after he built Fox News into a billion dollar business. Sherman’s groundbreaking reporting, both in the book he wrote on Ailes, The Loudest Voice In the Room, and the subsequent litany of accusations of sexual harassment allegations by women under his employment both at Fox News and earlier stints, will be the focus. McCarthy is shepherding the series. He will write and executive produce alongside Sherman, with John Harrington Bland and Jennifer Stahl writing and co-executive producing. The project, which landed at Showtime in a competitive situation, will be a co-production between the pay cable network and Blumhouse Television.
Blumhouse continues its feature deal with Universal, a ten-year pact which most recently resulted in the low cost high gross genre blockbusters Split and Get Out, as well as the fright franchises The Purge, Insidious and Paranormal Activity, and Whiplash, which launched La La Land‘s Damien Chazelle. Blum launched his TV label in 2012 and it so far has won Emmy awards for The Jinx and The Normal Heart. It also produces the rebooted Cold Case Files on A&E and 12 Deadly Days for YouTube Red. The shingle is producing an adaptation of the Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn’s novel Sharp Objects for HBO with Amy Adams starring. The label has made programming for multiple outlets and the ITV investment will allow it to grow in scale with its own development and production, the company said. In other words, Blum doesn’t need permission to follow his gut.
Said Blum: “Over the past few years, we have been working to build Blumhouse Television into an independent studio so we can have the autonomy to work with the best storytellers and give them freedom to create the best dark genre programming. It is a dream that day is here. Julian and his team at ITV are remarkable partners and we can’t wait to kick things off with The Purge and Secure and Hold. We are excited that with the launch of this new studio, we are expanding our partnership with NBCUniversal by growing The Purge franchise into a television series and are grateful for their incredible support of Blumhouse overall.”
ITV Studios’ investment in Blumhouse Television forms part of ITV’s continued strategy to expand its U.S. scripted television studio operations under the leadership of President Philippe Maigret. Blumhouse joins Tomorrow Studios, ITV Studios America’s joint venture with Marty Adelstein. Blumhouse Television and ITV Studios Global Entertainment will seek to partner on the global distribution of future projects.
“Jason and his team have an unrivalled reputation in the suspense and thriller genres, delivering hit after hit at the US and international box office,” said Julian Bellamy, Managing Director, ITV Studios. “They have very quickly established an enviable track record by applying these skills to television and we are delighted to come on board for the next stage of the company’s exciting development. This partnership is another step forward in ITV Studios building a global scripted business of scale.”
Carmen Carpenter of Evolution Media Capital acted as financial advisor to Blumhouse.