Australia's Essential Media and Entertainment and US/Canadian production company 11 Television have joined forces to launch Essential 11 Media Group.
11 Television, which has opened offices in Los Angeles and Toronto to focus exclusively on factual entertainment formats, has the rights to all of Essential's factual formats and programs in North America while Essential will continue to produce factual, drama and kids content under its existing banner, as well as market its own drama shows in the US.
The startup business, comprised of Essential boss Chris Hilton and 11 Television's veteran executive producers Kevin Healey and Jesse Fawcett, will provide a new avenue for Essential in the North American market.
"It's very difficult to get original formats up in Australia with the commercial channels or pay-TV and so one way around that is to create them in North America and make them hits over there and then bring them back," Essential's Chris Hilton said.
A large number of local TV hits, such as MasterChef Australia and The Voice, are based on overseas formats.
The Essential 11 Media Group's 2012 slate of reality formats and factual programs which will be broadcast on US and Canadian networks in 2012 include :
• Propos'd – a program announced by Oxygen in which grooms pull off elaborate pranks to give their girlfriends a marriage proposal they will never forget.
• Destination Fear (13 x 30 mins) – a comedy prank show, for Travel Channel US and Travel & Leisure Canada, where paranormal obsessed travelers experience frightening destinations in a whole new way.
• Cover Me Canada (9 x 60 mins) – the company's first original talent show format, a music competition series for CBC, hosted by Nicole Appleton, where cover bands battle it out to perform original takes on the nation's best loved songs.
• Risky Business (13 x 30 mins) – an investment competition show for Slice Network, hosted by Canadian entrepreneur W Brett Wilson.
• Australia: The Times Traveler’s Guide (4 x 60mins) – a landmark natural history series for PBS Nova.
• My Brother The Serial Killer (1 x 90 mins), a special feature for Investigation Discovery and CBC.
• The Grammar Of Happiness (1 x 60 mins), filmed over three years in the Amazon for Smithsonian Network.