Producers land overall deals at Discovery

Studio hopes to keep production companies inhouse

Discovery Studios has hired “America’s Next Top Model” and “Hell’s Kitchen” producer Daniel Soiseth to a long-term overall deal at the division. Pact starts this week.

It’s the most recent in a series of deals at Discovery Communications’ inhouse production division, which started in November with “Dirty Jobs” producer Eddie Barbini and includes “Mythbusters” co-exec producer Rob Hammersley, as well as Creative Differences’ Erik Nelson.

Lee Bartlett, interim prexy at Discovery Studios, said it’s likely the last such deal for now. The moves have been a strategic reaction to the consolidation among smaller production entities being acquired by larger companies. Bartlett cited, among others, Original Prods., which was scooped up by FremantleMedia. Discovery traditionally has not done much business with the larger production entities because of its practice of retaining worldwide rights to its programs.

“They start taking people that we’re used to doing business with away from us, and they may have different needs for those people than we do,” Bartlett said. “Having your own group of people who think first about you is very advantageous to getting good programming on the air.”

Bartlett said the program’s advantages works both ways — producers are given a guaranteed compensation for the length of their contracts. If a member of the Discovery Studios’ stable lands an exec producer role on a show, the studio recoups its fees and then pays any surplus to the producer.The studio is also prepared to sell its in-house productions to other networks that use reality and documentary programming. According do Bartlett, deals along those lines are currently in the works.