Grodner, Meehan sign two-year deal
“Big Brother” stewards Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan have partnered in a production shingle that has signed a two-year pact with Sony Pictures TV.
Fly on the Wall Entertainment aims to produce a range of unscripted programs under the pact with Sony, which has spent the past year beefing up its roster of reality producers and properties.
Grodner and Meehan said it was the breadth of resources available to them under the Sony umbrella that drew them to the studio. Sony has a slew of TV and film properties that might be ripe for a reality adaptation, and the studio greatly expanded its unscripted format library last year with the acquisition of Dutch production company 2WayTraffic.
“It was too good to pass up in terms of what Sony had to offer,” Grodner told Daily Variety. “It felt like a nice fit to expand our business in many areas.”
Grodner and Meehan plan to peruse the Sony vault for potential properties as well as develop their own original concepts.
The two have worked shoulder to shoulder for the past five years as exec producers of CBS summer reality stalwart “Big Brother.” The decision to segue into a formal partnership in Fly on the Wall Entertainment was a natural next step for them.
“We have a lot of the same philosophies about producing, and there’s great trust between us that we’re always going to go the extra mile on our shows,” Meehan said. “We’re excited about moving forward with this company.”
For Sony, the deal brings two more established reality showrunners to the studio that is already in business with such heavy hitters as Mark Burnett, Michael Davies and Joel Gallen. It’s a big advantage to the studio in pitching projects to prospective buyers if experienced producers like Grodner and Meehan are on board from the start.
“Our goal this year was to get more aggressively into the reality business,” said Holly Jacobs, Sony Pictures TV exec veep of reality and syndication. “But we’re not looking for volume business. We’ve been going out to the market very thoughtfully with successful formats that are married to top-flight producers in their arenas.”
Among the unscripted shows to stem from Sony’s reality-building push are ABC’s “Shark Tank” and NBC’s upcoming a capella singing competish “The Sing-Off.”
Jacobs and Grodner have been friendly since they worked together years ago on an ABC project. “Allison is a very hands-on producer,” Jacobs said. “She’s in there with every little detail on her shows, and she really knows how to manage a team.”
Grodner has been with “Big Brother” since its second edition bowed on CBS in 2001. Meehan joined the show in its fifth season. There’s no official word yet if the show will be picked up for a 12th cycle next year, but if so, Grodner said they’d hope to continue on as showrunners even as they develop projects for Sony.
“There’s no reason to believe we can’t make something work,” Grodner said.
In addition to “Big Brother,” Grodner is exec producer of TV Land’s “She’s Got the Look,” which recently wrapped its second season, and has an upcoming skein for Style channel, “Dallas Divas and Daughters.”