Co.'s entertainment biz growing under Sassa

Hearst has acquired 50% of NorthSouth Productions, a major independent producer of non-scripted TV programming.

NorthSouth, with shows like “Impractical Jokers,” “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta” and “Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids,” will become part of Hearst Entertainment and Syndication, run by prexy Scott Sassa who’s has been looking to grow the division. It holds stakes in big cable networks like A&E, History and ESPN and has a joint venture with Mark Burnett called One Three Media.

“NorthSouth is right at the center of the burgeoning television ‘reality comedy’ category which is attracting both men and women of all demographics across a number of important and diverse networks,” Sassa said. He called the newest addition a nice complement to Burnett’s One Three.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Founded by exec producers Charlie DeBevoise and Mark Hickman in 2000, NorthSouth has corporate offices in New York City and Knoxville, Tenn., and production facilities in Atlanta and Los Angeles. Its clients A&E, History, TLC, Discovery, truTV, Food Network, Sundance, Speed and Travel Channel.

“This partnership gives us a significantly stronger presence in cable network production, which is experiencing a steady growth in overall demand,” said Hearst CEO Frank Bennack. “When we first partnered with Mark Burnett in 2011 and entered television production, we had a strategic vision of building a full-service 21st century production company — NorthSouth is an important piece in furthering this effort.”

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