Following their successful foray into reality TV with the long-running A&E series Wahlburgers, Mark Wahlberg and his longtime producing partner Stephen Levinson are looking to build up their presence in the unscripted space. The duo has partnered with former Wahlburgers executive producers/showrunner Archie Gips to form Unrealistic Ideas, a full-service production company for non-scripted content. Gips will serve as the company’s president.
“We’ve really enjoyed working in the non-scripted space,” Wahlberg said. “Partnerships are driven by relationships, and this is no different. Working with Archie for the last four years has been fantastic.”
Levinson hinted at the origins of the company’s name. “We’re always trying to challenge ourselves, and we have plenty of ideas — most of them unrealistic,” he said.
Gips has worked in different non-fiction genres, from reality docuseries including Braxton Family Values to the rock-doc features Katy Perry: Part of Me and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never.
“Mark and Lev have a phenomenal track record in the industry,” said Gips. “Our team is excited to create original, inspirational real-life stories, showcase bold characters and develop unique formats that will entertain audiences worldwide.”
Launched in 2014 ,Wahlburgers has earned two unscripted reality program Emmy nominations and has spawned a spinoff series, Donnie Loves Jenny.
While they are formally combining forces in a single entity on the unscripted side, Wahlberg and Levinson continue to collaborate on scripted series via their respective individual companies, Closest to the Hole Productions and Leverage Entertainment. Wahlberg and Levinson are currently in production on the third season of USA Network drama Shooter and Season 4 of HBO comedy Ballers, created/ran by Levinson. On the film side, the company is in post-production on Mile 22 for STX and in pre-production on Instant Family at Paramount, set to shoot in March.
Unrealistic Ideas will be repped by WME, which also reps Wahlberg.