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A. Smith to collaborate with Japanese counterpart

Reality shingle to co-produce across genres and markets

Multifaceted reality producer A. Smith & Co. Prods. has inked a deal with leading Japanese shingle Taiyo Kikaku Co. to co-develop and produce TV and online content for distribution in the U.S., Japan and other global markets.

The deal builds upon their previous collaboration on “I Survived a Japanese Game Show,” which the two brought to ABC’s airwaves in a matter of months. Each will aim to adapt the other’s programming in their respective local markets, while working together to create projects. Acquisitions of third-party properties are also on the table.

“It’s going to be very fruitful,” A. Smith & Co. co-founder Arthur Smith told Daily Variety, noting that the programming would cross multiple genres, including reality, animation and docs.

“We’re excited because it’s two production companies; it’s two creative companies where the people who run the company are creators and producers. They are not distributors and executives,” said Smith, who joked, “They’re as sick as us for sure.”

A. Smith & Co.’s current slate of programming includes “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Kitchen Nightmares,” “Pros vs. Joes,” “UFC Countdown” and “Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura.” Taiyo Kikaku has 44 years in the commercial production business.

Taiyo Kikaku has hired Satoshi Akutsu, an industry veteran who has worked with Japanese pubcaster NHK. among others, to manage the alliance and will also open a Stateside office.

“Most interesting to us is the cultural difference,” Taiyo Kikaku president Hirohisa Sugizaki told Daily Variety. “With cooperation, we can create something out of the difference — it makes it more interesting. This cultural difference could create interesting programs that we can use in different platforms.”

Added Smith: “Generally, the ideas we’re developing are ideas that are going to be working in both countries. Not just Japan and the U.S., but around the world. When we analyze something, we think about broadcasters and distribution and whatever platform it takes. We’re thinking of Japan and the U.S. initially and then globally as well.”

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