EXCLUSIVE: Producer Ellen Rakieten has teamed with Los Angeles Media Fund — the financing and production vehicle of Jeffrey Soros and Simon Horsman — to launch Very Tall Productions. The new company will develop, finance and produce unscripted and scripted content for television and digital platforms. Very Tall Productions will also produce documentaries and films as well as live events around the world.
Rakieten, who’s Very Tall Productions’ CEO, is the prolific 13-time Emmy winner who produced The Oprah Winfrey Show over two decades, The Marriage Ref with Jerry Seinfeld, the Jillian Michaels-starrer Losing it with Jillian, the Emmy-winning Food Network show Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, Welcome Back Potter (HGTV), All About Sex (TLC), Zoe Saldana Presents My Hero (AOL), Joyride (Esquire), Car Matchmaker (Esquire/NBC Sports), and Undateable for NBC, latter based on a book co-written by Rakieten.
One of Very Tall Productions’ first projects is the multi-generational series, Red Table Talk, hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, daughter Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris (Pinkett’s mother), which premieres on Facebook Watch on Monday. Rakieten will executive produce the show with Pinkett Smith and Miguel Melendez of Westbrook Entertainment. Other early projects in development include partnership with Eva Longoria’s UnbeliEVAble Entertainment on a unique dating format that challenges established wisdom on how to find a perfect mate; a scripted series based on Melissa Rivers’ bestseller The Book of Joan, and Iced (working title), featuring actress Charlotte McKinney (Flatliners) and her crew as they help those who’ve been “ghosted” by friends, co-workers, dates and family.
Rakieten’s longtime collaborator, Meghan Hoffman, serves as Head of Development for Very Tall Productions.
Said Soros and Horsman: “Ellen is an incredible force to be reckoned with in the industry. She has been at the forefront of some of the most successful shows in history. She’s amazing at identifying what audiences will embrace in the ever-changing landscape of film and television and her contacts within the industry are second to none. We feel very fortunate to have such an accomplished business person and creator as part of the LAMF family.”
Said Rakieten: “I am thrilled to launch Very Tall Productions with Jeffrey and Simon. They are great partners who are incredibly supportive and have tremendous vision. The team we have assembled is fantastic and the diverse slate of exciting and cutting-edge projects we’re putting together is so much fun and truly inspiring. We can’t wait to share them with audiences.”
Soros and Horsman’s Los Angeles Media Fund has in its four years funded and produced such films as the Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke and Chris O’Dowd starrer Juliet, Naked, which premiered at Sundance and will be released by Roadside and Lionsgate on August 17; the STX releases The Space Between Us with Gary Oldman and the horror film The Bye Bye Man; the Netflix dance comedy Step Sisters; the Fox Sports docu Shot in the Dark; and the thriller Dark Crime which stars Jim Carrey and will be released this month by Saban Films.
Rakieten and Very Tall Productions are repped by CAA and Del Shaw Moonves attorneys Tara Senior and Todd Weinstein.