'Bingo' first show to be distributed in new deal

In one of his first big deals since joining IMG, Chris Albrecht has engineered a partnership with reality producer Andrew Glassman (“Average Joe”) to produce and distribute unscripted projects.

Along with an injection of cash, the partnership gives Glassman access to IMG’s roster of sports, fashion and entertainment talent, as well as its international network of production partners and distributors.

With the added resources, Glassman’s shingle — Glassman Media — will develop and create projects for TV, online and mobile platforms. Multi-year deal gives IMG exclusive access to Glassman Media’s development, with the two companies sharing ownership of any resulting projects.

Glassman is expected to dramatically increase his development output as a result of the deal, with staffing levels at Glassman Media also likely to rise.

Albrecht said he and IMG Global Media programming chief Rob Lee are looking to take a portfolio approach to reality development by brokering a variety of deals, from overall pacts like the one with Glassman Media to the possible outright acquisition of the right production company. IMG already owns several companies, including Blighty’s Tiger Aspect and Darlow Smithson.

“The reality world is one you have to be in if you want to be a player in broadcast and cable TV,” Albrecht told Daily Variety. “And Andrew has got a great reputation in the business. He’s full of good ideas.”

In addition to giving IMG a pumped-up production pipeline, pact gives Glassman something highly coveted by indie reality producers: the ability to distribute his projects internationally. “It’s a win for him and a win for us,” Albrecht said.

Glassman comes to IMG from Fox TV Studios, where had been under an exclusive overall deal. His most recent series, “Bingo America,” is a nightly strip on GSN that bowed last month.

“Bingo” will be the first Glassman Media skein to be distributed by IMG as part of the new deal.

Glassman’s other credits include the NBC tearjerker “Three Wishes” and ABC’s “National Bingo Night.”

First-season finale of Glassman’s “Average Joe” brought in more than 17 million viewers back in 2003, giving NBC its best Monday ratings in a decade.

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