You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Viacom Backs U.K. Indie Producer Banjo Television

Viacom has backed start-up U.K. production company Banjo Television, which will be launched by former BBC Studios executive Mike Smith and British TV presenter David Olusoga in October.

The backing for the producer comes through Elephant House, which is the production division of Viacom-owned broadcaster Channel 5. The new company, which will specialize in high-end factual and history content, will work out of Elephant House’s studio space in Camden, London.

The deal sees Viacom provide infrastructure, studio space and support to Banjo, and Channel 5 has an option to take a minority stake in the business.

Smith and Olusoga worked on BBC Two history series “The Ottomans: Europe’s Muslim Emperors.” “We are delighted to be the first U.K. indie to be backed by Viacom,” said Smith. “The team at Elephant House have the business and production expertise to give us the infrastructure to hit the ground running.”

British-Nigerian author, historian and presenter Olusoga added: “We want to make programs that infuse specialist factual TV with greater emotion and authenticity and create formats that are immersive and inclusive but also rooted in the here and now.”  

The Banjo deal marks the first time Elephant House has backed an independent. “Whilst Banjo is open for business across the industry, Elephant House Studios’ immediate creative focus remains delivering returnable series for Channel 5,” said company VP Joe McLusky.

More TV

  • Mary McDonnell Major Crimes

    'Major Crimes' Team Reflects on Sharon's Evolution, Differentiating From 'The Closer'

    Viacom has backed start-up U.K. production company Banjo Television, which will be launched by former BBC Studios executive Mike Smith and British TV presenter David Olusoga in October. The backing for the producer comes through Elephant House, which is the production division of Viacom-owned broadcaster Channel 5. The new company, which will specialize in high-end […]

  • 'Game of Thrones,' 'Walking Dead' Among

    TV's Most Meaningful Deaths of 2017

    Viacom has backed start-up U.K. production company Banjo Television, which will be launched by former BBC Studios executive Mike Smith and British TV presenter David Olusoga in October. The backing for the producer comes through Elephant House, which is the production division of Viacom-owned broadcaster Channel 5. The new company, which will specialize in high-end […]

  • Outlander

    Apple Gives Straight-to-Series Order to Drama From 'Outlander' Showrunner

    Viacom has backed start-up U.K. production company Banjo Television, which will be launched by former BBC Studios executive Mike Smith and British TV presenter David Olusoga in October. The backing for the producer comes through Elephant House, which is the production division of Viacom-owned broadcaster Channel 5. The new company, which will specialize in high-end […]

  • Terry Crews WME

    Terry Crews Signs With UTA After WME Battle

    Viacom has backed start-up U.K. production company Banjo Television, which will be launched by former BBC Studios executive Mike Smith and British TV presenter David Olusoga in October. The backing for the producer comes through Elephant House, which is the production division of Viacom-owned broadcaster Channel 5. The new company, which will specialize in high-end […]

  • Broncos Colts Thursday Night Football

    TV Ratings: 'Thursday Night Football' Sinks

    Viacom has backed start-up U.K. production company Banjo Television, which will be launched by former BBC Studios executive Mike Smith and British TV presenter David Olusoga in October. The backing for the producer comes through Elephant House, which is the production division of Viacom-owned broadcaster Channel 5. The new company, which will specialize in high-end […]

  • HBO Latino Takes U.S. Pay TV

    HBO Latino Takes U.S. Pay TV on ‘Home Team,’ ‘The Watchman’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Viacom has backed start-up U.K. production company Banjo Television, which will be launched by former BBC Studios executive Mike Smith and British TV presenter David Olusoga in October. The backing for the producer comes through Elephant House, which is the production division of Viacom-owned broadcaster Channel 5. The new company, which will specialize in high-end […]

  • Will and grace Reboot NBC

    How Spanish-Language Media Fails to Recognize LGBT and Other Diverse Content (Guest Column)

    Viacom has backed start-up U.K. production company Banjo Television, which will be launched by former BBC Studios executive Mike Smith and British TV presenter David Olusoga in October. The backing for the producer comes through Elephant House, which is the production division of Viacom-owned broadcaster Channel 5. The new company, which will specialize in high-end […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content