The consolidation in the unscripted space continues with the acquisition of another independent reality producer. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has bought 30-year-old Evolution Media — which is behind such series as The Real Housewives of Orange County, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules for Bravo, as well Botched for the E! network — which will become part of MGM’s television division led by Mark Burnett, President, Television Group & Digital.
The company will operate as Evolution Media, an MGM Company, with founder and CEO Douglas Ross as President of the acquired business and EVP of Programming & Development Alex Baskin becoming its President, Programming & Development. Both will report to Barry Poznick, MGM’s President, Unscripted Television.
Founded 30 years ago by Ross, Evolution Media will continue to be based in its Burbank offices. Since its inception, the company has produced over 50 series including the inaugural seasons of CBS’s Big Brother and NBC’s Fear Factor, as well as Disney Channel’s Bug Juice and TLC’s 10 Years Younger. Evolution Media’s current productions include The Real Housewives of Orange County, now airing its 12th season; The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, in production on its 8th season; and the show’s spinoff, Vanderpump Rules, now in production on its 5th season, as well as Bravo’s Sweet Home Oklahoma and Lifetime’s forthcoming Growing up Supermodel, among others.
“Doug and Alex have been creating and producing hit series for decades. These guys have talent and drive and will help our MGM Television ‘hit machine’ to continue to grow and grow,” said Burnett whose relationship with MGM also started when the company acquired a stake in his then-independent reality production company Mark Burnett Prods.
The acquisition of Evolution Media adds cable fare to MGM Television’s unscripted series portfolio, which includes Survivor (CBS), The Voice (NBC), Shark Tank (ABC), Jamie Foxx’s Beat Shazam (FOX) and Steve Harvey’s Funderdome (ABC).
“The shows that Evolution produces are a perfect complement to our slate,” said Barry Poznick, MGM’s President, Unscripted Television. “Their slick style, high quality and one-of-a-kind casts connect with audiences and generate epic social media engagement. ”
Added Ross, “After 30 years of being fiercely independent, we couldn’t be more proud and excited to join forces with the dynamic, creative and supportive leadership team at MGM. We look forward to working with Gary, Mark and Barry to supercharge Evolution and to write the next chapters in the company’s history with them.”
Evolution Media is reppedd by CAA and was repped in the transaction by Bryan Bowles and Ron Milkes of Bryor Media Partners and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton. MGM was repped in the transaction by Latham & Watkins.