Two years after former FremantleMedia International CEO David Ellender launched independent company Slingshot Global Media with the backing of private investment firm TPG Growth, he has stepped down as CEO. Ellender has parted ways amicably with the company, which will continue to operate with its current staff
Slingshot was started with the idea to develop and produce drama and comedy series for the U.S. market as well as globally-appealing projects through international co-financing, co-production, and pre-sales.
Shortly after its launch in February 2014, the company tapped veteran US development executive Quan Phung as head of scripted television. Over the last year and a half, Slingshot has put together several high-profile projects, including action series Rain starring Keanu Reeves, a virtual reality drama produced by Reeves and Roland Emmerich, a Route 66 series remake and a Cleopatra series. Neither have been set up at a network yet or greenlighted for independent production. Slingshot also has had a non-exclusive venture with EuropaCorp aimed at co-developing and co-financing two “globally appealing” projects a year.
As the demand for original scripted programming started to grow dramatically at the start of this decade, it triggered the creation of a slew of new independent TV production companies focused on producing and financing scripted series (largely drama). It has been rough going and growing pains for some outlets, with a number of executive shakeups over the past year or so at upstart indies as they try to gain a foothold in the marketplace, competing against established players.
London native Ellender previously spent 12 years at FremantleMedia, serving as CEO of FremantleMedia International from 2006-13.