Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) announced today that it has acquired a 55 percent interest in Roma Downey, Mark Burnett and Hearst Entertainment’s One Three Media and LightWorkers Media, including all of their interests in such hit shows as Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank, The Bible and The Apprentice, which will be consolidated into a new media venture called United Artists Media Group (UAMG). The announcement was made by Gary Barber, MGM’s chairman and CEO; Burnett; Downey; and Steven R. Swartz, Hearst Corporation’s president and CEO. Financial terms were not disclosed.
UAMG will primarily focus on developing, producing and financing premium content across all platforms. This includes scripted and non-scripted television programs, motion pictures and digital content. Burnett will serve as the CEO of UAMG. Downey will serve as president of Lightworkers Media, the faith and family division of UAMG.
"I am extremely pleased to be partnering with Mark, Roma and Steve in this incredible new venture that we believe will be accretive to MGM's business," Barber said. “Mark and Roma are without a doubt the most successful and dominant players in unscripted television and faith-based content and we are excited to be distributing UAMG content worldwide. Together with Hearst Entertainment’s vast array of media assets and knowledge, MGM could not have wished for better partners to continue to grow the MGM business of creating premium content for distribution across multiple platforms. Additionally, we are extremely optimistic about the launch of an exciting new Over-The-Top (OTT) faith-based channel. Finally, I am truly honored to welcome Mark, Roma, Steve and their entire team into the MGM family."
"Roma and I are absolutely thrilled to be in business with Gary Barber and MGM while at the same time maintaining our amazing relationship with Steve and Hearst," Burnett said. "I am honored to become the CEO of United Artists Media Group. Together we look forward to growing our television, film and digital business while also creating a whole new platform of entertainment."
"Steve has been a wonderful partner and we are excited to now be working alongside Gary," Downey said. "When Mark and I created LightWorkers Media, our mission was to bring faith and family entertainment to a large audience and now this new endeavor will allow us even greater growth and success as the faith/family division of UAMG."
“MGM is a storied entertainment company and we are excited to expand our partnership with Gary and his team, as well as Mark and Roma, to create the next hit programming for a new audience of consumers,” Swartz said.
The planned launch of the OTT channel will create a singular destination for audiences of faith worldwide and on every screen. The channel’s programming will consist of a mix of original new content, premium film and television catalog titles, curated Christian music videos, regional and national congregation portals, sermons from worldwide religious leaders and user-created short-form faith-based videos.
"We’ll work together with Gary and the MGM team in all aspects of our business,” said Brian Edwards, chief operating officer of One Three Media and LightWorkers Media, who will retain that position with UAMG. He added,“Mark and Roma will continue to develop all UAMG projects, while we work closely with MGM’s distribution, marketing and other business groups, to achieve a seamless business structure.”
This announcement comes on the heels of network television premiere week. Mark Burnett's shows including The Voice, Survivor and Shark Tank will have their season premieres this week. Burnett recently announced a straight-to-series deal with ABC for a new game show 500 Questions. Also previously announced, his first show in partnership with the El Rey Network, Lucha Underground, and TNT's On The Menu will both premiere in October. Burnett and Downey have also started principal photography on the NBC miniseries A.D. as well as CBS' The Dovekeepers through their LightWorkers Media banner. The couple is also currently in pre-production on the epic feature film Ben-Hur with MGM and Paramount. They also have the feature film Little Boy which Open Road recently acquired.
The United Artists banner was famously first launched in 1919 by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith.
Chris Brearton led the legal team at O’Melveny & Myers that negotiated the deal on behalf of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.
Roma Downey and Mark Burnett were advised by the law firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, led by Matthew Thompson. Downey, Burnett and Hearst were advised by Allen & Company LLC.
About United Artists Media Group
United Artists Media Group (UAMG) is a joint venture between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Mark Burnett, Roma Downey and Hearst Corporation, focused on developing, producing and financing premium content across all platforms, including scripted and non-scripted television programs, motion pictures and digital content.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM.com) is celebrating 90 years as a leader in the entertainment business and as an innovator in the industry. Today, MGM is an entertainment company focused on the production and distribution of film and television content globally. The company owns one of the world’s deepest libraries of premium film and television content. In addition, MGM has investments in domestic and international television channels.
About One Three Media
One Three Media is a joint venture between Mark Burnett and Hearst Corporation which produces television, advertising and Web content. Five-time Emmy® Award winner Mark Burnett has produced over 2,900 hours of television programming that regularly air in over 70 countries worldwide. With over 100 Emmy nominations, Burnett and One Three Media's recent series include Survivor (CBS), The Voice (NBC), The Celebrity Apprentice (NBC), Shark Tank (ABC), The Bible (HISTORY) and Trust Me I'm A Game Show Host (TBS). Awards show franchises includes the MTV Movie Awards from 2007 to 2011, and the People's Choice Awards (CBS) since 2010.
About LightWorkers Media
Celebrated Emmy-nominated actress and producer Roma Downey and her award-winning husband producer Mark Burnett launched LightWorkers Media in 2011 with the children’s DVD and book series Little Angels and its companion Little Angels Storybook Bible. LightWorkers Media produced the ten-hour hit miniseries The Bible which was seen in the U.S. by 100 million people, was one of the fastest selling TV-to-Disc titles ever and was nominated for three Emmy awards. Additionally, they are producing the series A.D., a sequel to The Bible series for NBC and they acquired Alice Hoffman’s award-winning novel The Dovekeepers which they are producing as a four-hour miniseries for CBS. The couple is also currently in pre-production on the epic feature film Ben-Hur with MGM and Paramount. They also have the feature film Little Boy which Open Road recently acquired. In addition, Roma and Mark have coauthored several books published by Faithwords. They are ambassadors for two children’s organizations Operation Smile and Compassion. LightWorkers Media is dedicated to shining a light and bringing uplifting content to people of all ages.
About Hearst Corporation
Hearst Corporation (hearst.com) is one of the nation’s largest diversified media and information companies. Its major interests include ownership of 15 daily and 34 weekly newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times Union; hundreds of magazines around the world, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, ELLE and O, The Oprah Magazine; 29 television stations, which reach a combined 18 percent of U.S. viewers; ownership in leading cable networks, including Lifetime, A&E, HISTORY and ESPN; significant holdings in automotive, electronic and medical/pharmaceutical business information companies; a 50 percent stake in global ratings agency Fitch Group; Internet and marketing services businesses; television production; newspaper features distribution; and real estate.
About Roma Downey
Emmy-nominated producer of The Bible series and Son of God, Roma Downey is also a celebrated Emmy nominated actress best known for her nine seasons as the tender-hearted angel on the hit CBS show Touched by an Angel. Ms. Downey starred in over 200 episodes and her work as the compassionate angel inspired millions of people around the world and earned Ms. Downey multiple best actress nominations for Emmy and Golden Globe awards.
Born in Northern Ireland and classically trained in London, Ms. Downey has performed on stage with the famed Abbey Theatre Company and has appeared both on and off Broadway. She played the leading role of Jackie Kennedy Onassis in the Emmy award winning six hour miniseries for NBC called A Woman Named Jackie. Ms. Downey not only starred in, but produced seven television movies for The CBS network, among them Borrowed Hearts with Eric McCormack and Second Honeymoon with Tim Matheson. She is the executive producer of the children's DVD and book series Little Angels and its companion Little Angels Storybook Bible. Ms. Downey, along with her husband Mark Burnett, are currently shooting an exciting new dramatic series for NBC called A.D. and a beautiful four-hour miniseries for CBS called The Dovekeepers all under their LightWorkers Media banner. The couple is in pre-production on the epic feature film Ben-Hur with MGM and Paramount. They also have the feature film Little Boy which Open Road recently acquired. LWM also has several other projects yet to be announced, among them an exciting new inspirational unscripted series for TLC.
Ms. Downey has for many years been a spokesperson for Operation Smile a volunteer organization that brings free surgeries to children around the globe with facial deformities. She has travelled to third world and developing countries making fund raising films on their behalf. She also is an active supporter of Compassion International.
About Mark Burnett
Six time Emmy Award winner Mark Burnett has produced more than 2,900 hours of television programming, which regularly airs in more than 70 countries worldwide. Currently, Burnett's network series include Survivor (CBS), The Voice (NBC), The Celebrity Apprentice (NBC) and Shark Tank (ABC). Burnett is one of very few producers to have had a renewed series on each of the four major networks and to have multiple series win their time slot on five nights of television in the same week. Additionally, Burnett, alongside his wife Roma Downey, executive produced the 10-hour miniseries The Bible that premiered on HISTORY in March 2013.
Burnett and his wife Roma Downey have also created LightWorkers Media, which produced The Bible miniseries, the feature film Son of God with 20th Century Fox and are currently in production on two television miniseries: A.D.: Beyond the Bible with NBC and The Dovekeepers with CBS. They also are in pre-production on the feature film Ben-Hur with MGM and Paramount, set to be released in 2016. They are executive producing the feature film Little Boy which Open Road Films recently acquired.
Mark's television profile includes a strong presence in award show franchises, having produced the MTV Movie Awards from 2007 to 2011, the annual People's Choice Awards since 2010, the Video Game Awards (Spike) and the 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards.
TIME Magazine named Mr. Burnett one of the world's most influential people and he is also listed as TV GUIDE'S most valuable player. He has won BRANDWEEK'S Marketer of the Year Award, The Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award, the PGA Norman Lear Award and the prestigious ROSE D'OR FRAPA Format Award. Burnett was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2010 and was honored with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. He served two elected terms on the Board of Directors for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in Los Angeles.