Pop Monkey Scampers Into Europe
By Jesse Whittock
Published: July 12, 2011
LA-based Pop Monkey Productions has expanded into Europe and acquired US and UK rights to an extreme cuisine format from Hungary.
The interactive TV and unscripted formats firm has launched in the UK, using an existing pilot development deal with Advision TV Studios to open an office at the latter's broadcast facilities in Canterbury, Kent.
From there, Pop Monkey plans to manage its development slates from the US and the UK, and fund a number of new multi-platform and unscripted pilots every year.
Pop Monkey co-founders and development executives Chuck Thomas and Simone Thorogood will relocate to the UK to head the new office. As a result, Syd Vinnedge and Hugh Wright now helm its LA headquarters.
"With this move we intend to leverage global success to get better deals with US networks," said Thomas. "Our goal is to pitch new formats to broadcasters in Europe first in a bid to retain ownership outside the US and bring them back when they're hits."
The move comes after Pop Monkey struck format development deals with Sony Pictures Television (US), TF1 Productions (France), Absolutely Independent (Netherlands), Miditech (India) and Ohm:tv (Germany).
From the latter, Pop Monkey has picked up UK and US format rights to Guerilla Grill, a reality/cookery show first broadcast on RTL Klub in Hungary. The format sees crack teams of chefs preparing meals in places not generally suitable for cooking.
Pop Monkey also holds international format rights to two series from Hollywood Squares creator Merrill Heatter, Catch 21 and Hollywood Teasers; and US rights to UK format In the Dark, Canadian format Gutter Ball Alley and Indonesian format Pilihan Mama.
Former FremantleMedia interactive TV execs Thomas and Thorogood - creators of the Quizmania participation TV format - launched Pop Monkey in August last year after securing a development deal with ITV Studios.
© C21 Media 2011