LONDON — Former BBC entertainment commissioner Karl Warner and Sony Pictures Television are launching a new U.K. production company called Electric Ray. Warner will head up the new venture as managing director.
Based in London, Electric Ray will produce television content for U.K. broadcasters and international export, developing original programming in the factual entertainment and entertainment genres.
As a member of SPT’s global production group, Electric Ray will also collaborate with SPT’s U.S. and international production companies on development, while its U.K. shows and formats will be exported by SPT’s distribution arm.
Warner said: “It’s an exciting time to launch an entertainment start-up. There is an appetite for shows that break new ground and I want us to be part of that. Whether in standout fact ent events or primetime family entertainment shows, I want creativity and innovation to be at the heart of everything we do.”
Wayne Garvie, SPT chief creative officer for international production, said: “Karl is one of the brightest, most highly thought of entertainment minds in British television. His vision and flair will be very much at home with the outstanding creative talent across our international production group.”
On SPT’s backing, Warner continued: “Their backing means we can be a proper company from day one, both in the U.K. and internationally, and it means we’ll be able to bring broadcasters quality ideas from the off. It’s great to have their resources and commercial expertise to hand, and, like us, they want Electric Ray to be an autonomous young indie with a hunger to prove itself.”
As the BBC’s youngest ever commissioning editor, Warner greenlit and exec produced a wide range of hit shows for BBC1 and BBC3 from “Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow,” “John Bishop’s Britain” and BBC1 gameshow “Reflex,” through to “Back Chat,” “Junior Doctors,” “Russell Howard’s Good News,” “World’s Craziest Fools” and “The Undercover Princes.”
Warner has recruited a new development team to be headed up by Thomas O’Brien, who helped create E4’s “Party House” and ITV2’s “The Magaluf Weekender” in his previous development roles at Room 414 and Two Four. The company name is taken from the nickname given to Karl’s father, Raymond, who was an electrician.
SPT’s U.K. production business also compromises Victory Television, Gogglebox Entertainment, Silver River Productions and Left Bank Pictures. Current productions in the U.K. include “The Patch” (BBC2, Silver River), “Tough Young Teachers” (BBC3, Victory Television) and “Outlander” (Starz, SPT/Left Bank Pictures).
With the launch of Electric Ray, SPT’s international production business now comprises 17 companies in 12 countries.