Muse Entertainment: ‘Kennedys’ puts company in spotlight

Showbiz Update: Canada - Quebec - TV

Muse Entertainment has always kept a low profile, but the busy Montreal TV production company has been thrust into the spotlight this year.

Muse’s mini “The Kennedys,” which it produced in association with Asylum Entertainment, was picked up by ReelzChannel in the U.S. after being dropped by the History channel.

The Montreal company has been happily trumpeting its 34 Gemini noms and 17 Emmy nominations, led by “The Kennedys” and “Pillars of the Earth,” which Muse co-produced with Germany’s Tandem Communications.

Muse CEO Michael Prupas sees the Emmy noms for “The Kennedys” as vindication for the show — and his company.

“It proves there’s still freedom of speech in the U.S.,” says Prupas. “It hurt me personally. The research we’d done was accurate and the kind of things we were disclosing were not new to anybody.”

Muse, which was founded by entertainment lawyer Prupas in 1998, occupies a unique place in the Canuck TV landscape. It whipped off $87 million worth of production last year, the second-largest volume after E1, and it succeeds with a mix of co-productions (often with European partners), U.S.-focused series and miniseries and projects more targeted to the indigenous Canadian marketplace.

“Pillars of the Earth” is an example of one Muse model. The eight-hour, $40 million series is a 80%-20% Germany-Canada co-production but the Muse coin was essential to get the project off the ground. The show was pre-sold in Germany, Canada, Italy and Spain, but only sold in the key markets of the U.S. and the U.K. after completion. It aired on Starz in the U.S.

Next up, Muse is busy with a mix of international hits and locally targeted programs.