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Bear Grylls launches prodco with Banijay

Bear Grylls and Delbert Shoopman (right) have launched The Natural Studios

MIPCOM: Survivalist Bear Grylls and TV producer and writer Delbert Shoopman are launching a production company backed by France’s Banijay Group.

The Natural Studios was unveiled on the first day of Mipcom in Cannes this morning, described as a “go-to” production outfit for adventure film and TV production across all platforms.

Running Wild star Grylls and close friend Shoopman will be co-CEOs of the company with Banijay as production and distribution partner. Grylls and Shoopman will have full strategic control of the business.

The company intends to develop original IP with mass global appeal and nurture the next generation of adrenaline-fuelled TV stars around the world.

The move deepens Banijay’s engagement with the adventure genre, with a format slate that already includes titles such as Survivor, 71 Degrees North, Fort Boyard, The Crystal Maze, SAS: Who Dares Wins and Stars on the Rocks.

The Natural Studios will take on Grylls and Shoopman’s current slate of shows, which includes Hostile Planet (National Geographic), World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji (Amazon), Running Wild with Bear Grylls (Nat Geo) and Emmy-nominated You vs Wild (Netflix). Bafta-winning Channel 4 series Treasure Island (fka The Island), produced by Shine, remains with Endemol Shine.

Grylls said: “It has been such a journey for Delbert and I to get to the stage where we can build out our adventure shows under our own studio. We stand on the shoulders of many giants.

“The Natural Studios will be providing a home for the best adventure talent to help them create shows with us that inspire and move people to go for it in their lives and to never give up.”

Marco Bassetti, CEO of Banijay Group, added: “In a crowded marketplace, with many new players, only strong talents can cut through and as the face of adventure globally, Bear does just this.

“Both he and Del bring an incredibly strong portfolio and track record in this space and fit harmoniously with our existing catalogue of world-class adventure entertainment brands.

The deal was brokered by ACF Investment Bank, as advisors to Grylls and Shoopman.

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