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Gobstopper exits Greenbird, launches Saucer

Newly independent UK prodco Gobstopper Television has launched a sister company, Flying Saucer TV, which has landed its first commission.

Ross McCarthy

Gobstopper has also confirmed it is no longer part of indie incubator Greenbird Media, which invested in the Manchester-based company and was majority acquired by Israel’s Keshet Media Group in 2018. Keshet International had a first-look deal with Gobstopper as part of that acquisition.

The Gobstopper MBO from Greenbird took place earlier this year “after a whirlwind five years of sustained growth,” according to founder, creative director and CEO Ross McCarthy, who now runs the company “as a true indie from its home in the North West.”

Flying Saucer’s first commission is the 4×60’ series Cats & Dogs at War (w/t) for 5Star, part of ViacomCBS Networks International. The show follows dog and cat experts bringing harmony to homes where canine and feline pets can’t live together.

The show was greenlit by Kit Morey, commissioning editor at 5Star’s big sister network Channel 5, and is in production and due for transmission in 2021.

The commission builds on McCarthy’s previous relationship with C5 producing Filthy House SOS, also commissioned by Morey. That show is currently in its second season and production has been moved over to Flying Saucer.

“Our range of programming has developed into two distinct areas over the past six years and Flying Saucer TV will concentrate on features and factual formats, while Gobstopper will continue to produce reality and entertainment,” said McCarthy.

Each of the two companies are expected have their own creative teams, with new hires to be announced soon, and both are part of new parent company Gobstopper Group. Following the MBO from Greenbird, the company is now seeking new distribution arrangements.

Gobstopper was founded by UK reality producer McCarthy in 2015, with initial investment from Greenbird and BBC Worldwide. Its productions include Plastic Surgery Undressed for BBC3, Revenge Prank for MTV, The Surjury for Channel 4 and Just Tattoo Of Us for MTV International.

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