DRG has formed a partnership with The Format Factory, a new unscripted sister company to Free@Last TV, launched by Free@Last founders and joint creative directors Barry Ryan and David Walton.

Free@Last TV, producers of  crime-comedy-drama Agatha Raisin, is now dedicated to scripted content, with all other genres coming over to the new Format Factory business.

DRG and The Format Factory will work together to develop new format ideas, which DRG will then look to place with broadcasters internationally. In addition, DRG will support The Format Factory’s existing slate.

The Format Factory positions itself as a ‘creative capital hub’, representing both creative content and IP owners. Many of the initial formats will come from the Free@Last TV catalogue, including tribute artist biography show Legendary, interactive singing format Bouncing Ball, reality TV reinvention format Nashvilified and biography format Hello! I Thought You Were Dead. In addition, the business also has large-scale concert format Celebration.

Currently the company has working partnerships with producers and content generators including David Hedges, the UK-based producer who adapted ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ for the UK in 2003. Hedges has various shows in development through The Format Factory – including austerity property show House of Card and stripped quiz show Buy The Letter. The business is also working on several projects with Birmingham-based independent producer Benjamin Field, including a global dancing format as well as shows from producer Vincent Woodward and Moli Leap Productions.

Kate Cundall, DRG’s SVP acquisitions, negotiated the deal with The Format Factory, she comments: “The Format Factory is an interesting business and Barry and David have a real knack of zeroing in on great ideas. However, one of the main reasons we wanted to work with them was that they have a collaborative development approach similar to our own: they are already bringing great talent into The Format Factory and nurturing it to create stand-out properties.”

Richard Halliwell (pictured), DRG’s CEO adds: “DRG, with its international experience, understanding of what works globally and years of successfully placing formats such as The Farm, Don’t Tell the Bride and Catch Phrase in territories worldwide, will add a further dimension to the whole process. Our support is always end-to-end: in addition to providing creative and financial backing to our own producer partners in the early stages, we also work closely with local producers and broadcasters in acquiring territories to offer help and ensure format integrity is retained.”

Barry Ryan adds: “The Format Factory is a way of using the expertise and properties that we had before we went into scripted production at Free@Last. We have a huge catalogue of existing IP and a large slate in development, all of which will benefit hugely from some of DRG’s creative and commercial thinking – as well as financial support. We’re looking forward to working with DRG and showing the market just what we have.”

Staff Reporter

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