Essential Media CEO Greg Quail and president Jesse Fawcett have acquired 100% of the company, while their post-house partner Dave Cole will also hold a stake. Fawcett has also acquired Big Timber Media from Kew in a separate transaction.
Quail said: “I am gutted by the collapse of Kew, they’re good people and there is nothing to celebrate here, but we will take this moment to buy back, consolidate our resources and rebuild. With its solid production and development slate, there is a bright future for Essential Media.”
In a deep dive on the collapse of Kew, several sources told Deadline that the group’s $21.5M acquisition of Essential in 2018 was the moment it overreached and got into financial difficulty. Essential was hit by Discovery’s rebranding of the DIY Network to Magnolia, losing key series including Texas Flip N Move.
The company has since launched paranormal program Ghost Loop on Travel Channel and said it is developing a slate of live stunt programming for A+E Networks that are expected to broadcast this year. Meanwhile, in Australia its slate includes Griff’s Great Australian Rail Trip for ABC and the UK’s ITV, and Network 10’s Body Hack 3.0.
Essential’s general manager in Australia Brendan Dahill said: “We’ve had a new show on air in Australia every week since June 2019. Our capacity for high volume is a strength, and in 2020 we are doubling down.”
Essential is among a wave of companies fleeing Kew Media after it went bust in February. Datsit Sphere acquired factual and kids production company BGM earlier this week, while Toronto-based production company Media Headquarters completed a management buyout. Others will follow, with UK distributor TCB Media Rights among the most valuable assets set to secure its future outside of Kew.