Reeves Entertainment Group, the U.S. production arm of former U.K. broadcaster Thames TV, has notified employees that the company will shut down on July 30.
Reports surfaced last week that Thames, as a condition of its sale to London-based media conglomerate Pearson, might be forced to shut down Reeves (Daily Variety, June 1).
MCEG Sterling, a division of GE Capital, has been retained to seek a buyer, which would likely avert the closure.
Reeves issued a statement on Tuesday informing staff of its intent to cease operation.
The company will continue to produce ABC daytime series the “Home” show, which accounts for a significant portion of Reeves’ more than 100 employees. Barring a sale, all other employees will be released July 30.
Prospects for a management-led buyout of Reeves, in the works since mid-April through company president Richard Reisberg, have reportedly dimmed.
In the meantime, several outfits are said to be eyeing Reeves as a possible acquisition target. Library assets include such shows as “Kate & Allie,””That’s Incredible” and “Gimme a Break.”
Reeves has a limited roster of active product beyond “Home,” recently renewed by ABC. Its NBC series “Homicide: Life on the Street,” produced by Barry Levinson’s Baltimore Pictures, still has an outside chance at a midseason pickup. A CBS sitcom pilot, “Trailer Park,” remains under consideration.
Several midsized network TV suppliers like Reeves have been chased from prime time by deficits associated with production, including Orion TV (whose assets were acquired by Lorimar), MGM TV (which still produces “In the Heat of the Night”) and New World, which remains a strong overseas distributor and producer.
By contrast, Reeves’ proposed shut-down can be traced primarily to the woes of Thames, dealt a major setback last year when it lost the franchise to operate a U.K. broadcast network.