Relativity Media is in the midst of disruptive financial problems, but several of the most popular TV properties to come from the shop will continue to air, according to people familiar with the programs.
“We will continue to move forward with a robust production slate of scripted and non-scripted shows during the reorganization process,” Ryan Kavanaugh, the entrepreneur who is chief executive of the beleaguered production house, said in a letter posted on the company’s website. “In our television business, ‘Limitless,’ which is based on the Relativity movie starring Bradley Cooper, is slated to debut on CBS’ primetime lineup this fall. And we continue to leverage our MTV ratings hit ‘Catfish’ by developing a number of international versions of the show, as well a planned sequel called ‘Truce,’ which is currently in production.”
This may be the one bright spot in a process that could see Relativity pushed toward auction. Relativity’s television business started as a production company in 2008, and now includes over 29 series in production and more than 46 contracted pilots and presentations, including eight upcoming scripted shows, according to a filing by Brian Kushner, Relativity’s chief restructuring officer, made July 30 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York. The business generated approximately $96.6 million in revenue in 2014. Other series in production include “The Great Food Truck Race” for Food Network, “Kim of Queens” for Lifetime Network and “Young and Hungry” for ABC Family.
The Relativity TV unit is still pitching shows to networks and expects to be part of some pickup announcements made during the current Television Critics Association tour, where TV networks talk up their future plans, according to a person familiar with the situation. The mandate from lenders is to continue operations, this person said, and executives there have made calls to TV networks to explain the current situation.
“Limitless” — a drama about a drug that can help people use the entirely of their brain — has gotten some attention because Cooper is expected to appear in it on occasion. CBS TV Studios acquired the rights to the movie from Relativity, which is attached as a producer, and Relativity is not financing or distributing the program, according to a person familiar with the situation. Bankruptcy would not undo the grant of any of the rights CBS currently holds, this person said.
“Catfish,” meanwhile, has been a steady part of MTV’s lineup in recent seasons. The network’s understanding from Relativity is that the program would not be affected by the current bankruptcy proceedings, according to a person familiar with the situation. Meanwhile, Relativity has no current ties to “Young and Hungry,” according to a person familiar with the program, though it may have gotten a credit on the show in the past.
A spokeswoman for Food Network declined to comment. “Kim of Queens” has not aired on Lifetime in several months and is not expected to return to the network.
Shows already in production are least likely to succumb, as they are already commissioned by networks and paid for by licensing fees.