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Chernin buys Red Arrow Studios’ US assets for $200m, sets up North Road

Kinetic Content’s Netflix reality series Love Is Blind

LA-based The Chernin Group (TCG), the media and investment company led by American businessman Peter Chernin, has acquired the US assets of Red Arrow Studios from European media giant ProSiebenSat.1.

Peter Chernin

The acquisition, which cost TCG US$200m, is part of the firm’s move to launch The North Road Company, a newly unveiled international studio group focused on producing scripted and unscripted programming across television and film.

Three brands will sit under the North Road umbrella: TCG’s scripted film and TV business, Chernin Entertainment, which is led by Jenno Topping; Red Arrow Studios’ US business, which was officially acquired on June 30; and non-scripted studio Words + Pictures, launched by Connor Schell, Chernin and Jesse Jacobs in 2021.

The launch of North Road and acquisition of Red Arrow Studios’ US assets is backed by US$500m of equity financing from specialist private equity investment firm Providence Equity Partners. Apollo Advisors has provided US$300m of debt financing.

The acquisition of Red Arrow Studios’ US assets brings high-profile production companies including Kinetic Content, the prodco behind Netflix reality smash hits Love is Blind and The Ultimatum, plus Lifetime’s Married at First Sight, under the North Road umbrella. The deal also includes 44 Blue Productions, Left/Right, Dorsey Pictures and Say Yes to the Dress prodco Half Yard.

Jan Frouman

Chernin will serve as chairman and CEO of North Road. The leadership team also includes Topping, who has led Chernin Entertainment since 2011, and Schell, who will continue to run Words + Pictures. Schell will also see his responsibilities expand to oversee other unscripted companies under the North Road banner.

Kinetic Content’s Chris Coelen, Left/Right’s Ken Druckerman and Banks Tarver, 44 Blue’s Stephanie and Rasha Drachkovitch, Half Yard’s Dirk Hoogstra and Dorsey Pictures’ Chris Dorsey will all continue to lead their respective businesses.

Jan Frouman, who is the former chairman and CEO of Red Arrow Studios and was most recently president of Westbrook International, will serve as president of North Road. Three months ago, it was revealed that Frouman was joining Chernin Entertainment but his role had not been specified until now. He will be “involved in overall growth strategy with a focus on international expansion,” said the company.

Also landing at North Road is former AMC Networks exec Kristin Jones, who left the company three months ago after eight years, as reported exclusively by C21.

Jones, who previously served as executive VP of international programming at AMC Networks, will serve as president of international TV at North Road. In her role, she will “focus on identifying companies, talent relationships, and film and TV projects for the international marketplace.”

Both Frouman and Jones will work from North Road’s new office in London.

“Our goal is to build a leading global, independent content studio by combining top industry production entities with leaders who are each proven experts in their businesses,” said Chernin.

Kristin Jones

“Premium scripted and non-scripted content across film and TV is in high demand both in the US and globally, and we aspire to meet the needs of the streamers, cable networks, broadcasters and any other platform that may emerge with exceptional, commercial content.

“Jenno, Connor, Chris, Jan, Kristin and the entire leadership team at Red Arrow are among the best creative executives in the business and I’m beyond excited to have them all together to make North Road a success.”

According to North Road, the acquired Red Arrow Studios companies have 45 active productions, while Words + Pictures and Chernin Entertainment have 15 and 20 respectively, making a total of more than 70.

Chernin Entertainment’s TV credits include See and Truth be Told for Apple TV+, while its feature credits include Ford v Ferrari, The Greatest Showman, Hidden Figures and the Planet of the Apes trilogy. It is currently working on a pair of upcoming film titles for Netflix: Slumberland, starring Jason Momoa, and a feature film based on the UK TV series Luther. Idris Elba is set to reprise his role as DCI John Luther in the latter project.

In May, Chernin Entertainment acquired a 25% stake in pop culture collectibles maker Funko for US$263m.


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