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Eyeworks buys way into LA

Dutch TV producer Eyeworks has dramatically expanded its global reach by acquiring a 50% stake in US television prodco 3Ball Productions, the firm behind Beauty & the Geek and For Love or Money.

The deal, described as eight-figure by US press, sees Eyeworks CEO Reinout Oerlemans finally getting a production foothold in the lucrative US television market, “which has been setting the tone internationally for some years now,” he said today.

Only five years old, 3Ball has become a major player in the unscripted programming sector stateside, with not only Beauty & the Geek (The WB) and For Love or Money (NBC) but also The Biggest Loser (NBC) and Unan1mous on Fox.

As well as network productions, 3Ball has several cable shows such as teen reality show Endurance for Discovery Kids, and other titles for VH1 and TLC. It is currently developing new product for VH1, Fox, WB, NBC, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, Lifetime, Bravo, Sci-Fi, The CW, GSN, MTV and Nickelodeon.

The deal “really opens up the US market for us,” said Oerlemans, who has recently acquired the likes of Touchdown TV of New Zealand, as well as expanding the Eyeworks production network into Germany, Sweden and Belgium.

“The television market is quickly becoming a global industry, with the US setting the pace. We want to play a serious role in this market, creating and producing top international formats,” he added.

“Buying into 3Ball is not only our most significant move financially thus far, it also gives us the opportunity to present brand new television shows to the US audiences. A success in the US will open the path to other territories for our formats.”

The acquisition deal was secured within a matter of weeks, according to exec producer Roth, who added: “Eyeworks buying into 3Ball gives us some working capital to scale the company up.

“We will now have the ability to test and grow formats overseas – a big advantage when pitching projects to US networks. We really need to have a pipeline going both ways to grow our business. This lets us create a laboratory for our ideas.”

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