If a nonfiction subject exists, chances are that GRB Entertainment has done a show about it.
GRB has produced a show for nearly every nonfiction cable network on the program guide, including Discovery, A&E, TLC, Animal Planet, History, Food Network, Weather, Biography and Planet Green.
Over the years and through its relationships with so many different programming distributors, the company has learned to roll with the programming punches.
“Every time a network rebrands, it’s an opportunity for us,” says GRB exec veep of creative affairs Michael Branton. “We send in our development team to try and get real estate. It’s always a good time to shake it up.”
For example, A&E’s rebrand into more reality-based programming provided GRB with the opportunity to create “Intervention” and “Growing Up Gotti.” “Intervention,” which is headed into its ninth season on A&E, has been so successful that GRB has spun another show out of it: “Intervention in Depth: One-Man Rehab.”
GRB also is producing eight new episodes of “Untold Stories of the ER” for Discovery Health, the second season of “Aftermath With William Shatner” for Bio and a series about eating disorders for Lifetime hosted by Tracey Gold, best known for her role on 1980s sitcom “Growing Pains.”
While the company has plenty of product sold across a range of American networks, it also always keeps its eyes firmly fixed on the international market when developing and producing its shows.
“We learned early on that shows better not be easily dated, and they better not be too U.S.-centric,” says Gary R. Benz, GRB’s president and CEO. “International buyers don’t want shows with Americans thumping their chest and saying, ‘We’re the best,’ so we’re careful for them to not have that sort of short shelf life. We’re also careful to not have a lot of talking heads, because many U.S. personalities are not known around the world. We’ve kept that mantra for 25 years, and it’s served us well.”
At October’s annual Mipcom TV conference in Cannes, GRB launched more than 100 hours of original programming for the international marketplace. Among those shows were Animal Planet’s “Confessions: Animal Hoarding,” which offers a new take on the issue of hoarding with which American TV viewers have become recently fascinated.
GRB also shopped several shows originally produced for Discovery, including “Nature’s Revenge,” “Crime and Investigation,” “How Stuff Works,” “Bidder Rivals” and “Loose Screws.”
Shows such as Food Network’s “Semi-Homemade With Sandra Lee” and Animal Planet’s “Pit Boss,” about a pit bull rescue outfit, also sold well at the annual European conference, says GRB senior vice president of international distribution Marielle Zuccarelli.
“Broadcasters are looking for shows that have performed well on a U.S. network and appeal to a diverse demographic,” says Zuccarelli. “In terms of factual entertainment, crime, ‘disastertainment’ and lifestyle are very much in demand. Our customers are focusing on the cost-value of the content they acquire. We are well known as a distributor who supplies diversity, ratings and cost-efficiency.”
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