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ITV buys Big Talk

ITV buys Big Talk
News
Pippa Considine
26 July 2013

ITV has bought Big Talk, the producer of comedy series Rev for the BBC, Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner and ITV’s recent sitcom The Job Lot, as well as films including Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End.

ITV will make an initial payment in the region of £12.5m, depending on Big Talk’s 2012/13 financial performance, with additional payments being made on the delivery of significant profit growth over the next five years.

The acquisition is the latest in a trail, as ITV focuses on growing its content business. In the last year it has bought up So Television and The Garden in the UK as well as leading US producers of reality, entertainment and drama including Gurney Productions, High Noon Entertainment and, most recently, Thinkfactory Media. 

Big Talk is one of the UK’s fastest growing scripted television and film production companies. It was was founded in 1995 by Nira Park who produced Channel 4 comedies Spaced and Black Books. Kenton Allen joined as ceo from BBC Comedy in 2008, after BBC Worldwide took a 25% stake in the company, and he and Matthew Justice, Big Talk’s managing director, restructured the business and have been the driving force behind its rapid growth.

Big Talk productions include Friday Night Dinner for Channel 4 and Rev and Him & Her for the BBC. It is also behind E4 youth drama Youngers, and the Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm mini-series A Young Doctor’s Notebook, the launch episode of which landed Sky Arts its highest viewings figures in the channel’s history.

These series are all set to make a return to the screen over the next six months, along with a slate of new commissions for 2013 / 14 including Ambassadors, starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb for BBC Two, Chickens, written by and starring Simon Bird, Joe Thomas and Johnny Sweet, for Sky 1, major BBC One drama Our Zoo, Sky Atlantic comedy drama Mr Sloane, starring Nick Frost, Comedy Central’s Mummy’s Boys, the Caitlin Moran Channel 4 sitcom pilot Raised By Wolves and Give Out Girls for Sky Living.

Big Talk Productions is in development with a number of US networks on versions of its hit UK series as well as a number of original comedy and drama ideas.

Under the new agreement, ITV Studios Global Entertainment will distribute all Big Talk’s new television content and help the company grow its international presence, particularly in the Northern American market, with BBC Worldwide retaining the global distribution rights to Big Talk’s back catalogue and future UK series based on those shows.

The acquisition also includes film producer Big Talk Pictures, the sister company of Big Talk Productions, whose productions include Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim Versus The World, Paul, Attack The Block, Sightseers and, most recently The World’s End. Titles shortly to be released include In Fear and Cuban Fury for StudioCanal / FilmFour, with a number of other projects currently in development.

Adam Crozier, chief executive of ITV plc, said: “Big Talk has an incredibly talented team, led by Kenton, Matthew and Nira, and has developed strong relationships with directors, producers, writers and performers including Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright.”

Kevin Lygo, managing director of ITV Studios, added: “Great comedy is an important part of the genre mix for broadcasters around the world and it’s fantastic that Big Talk is joining us. They have a brilliant track record in creating channel defining, returning scripted comedy and drama across many different channels, and they are also developing some fantastic new shows that have the potential to travel internationally.“

Big Talk's Kenton Allen said: “After an amazing five years of very rapid growth we’re delighted to have found a dynamic new partner to help us realise the untapped potential that exists at Big Talk. Adam Crozier, Denise O’Donoghue and Kevin Lygo really impressed us with their vision for ITV Studios and we are incredibly excited about their passion for what Big Talk does best. This marks our next phase of delivering quality comedy and ambitious original drama as we push into the international marketplace and really show the world what we can do.”

 







Note to Editors: Pictures attached.

 

Press contacts:            

           

Mike Large                        020 715 73021 or 07768 261528

Tracey Jaques                  020 715 76185 or 07730 637731

--
Mike Large | Director of Communications | Corporate Affairs | ITV plc
The London Television Centre, Upper Ground | London | SE1 9LT | Tel: 020 715 73021 |
Mob: +44 (0)7768 261528 | Mike.Large@itv.com


ITV plc Head Office Tel +44 (0) 20 7157 3000 itv.com

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