Asylum will continue to operate as a separate company, reporting to Bruce Rosenblum, president of Legendary Television and Digital Media.
In addition to “The Kennedys,” Asylum has produced the telepic “Ring of Fire,” starring Jewel. But it’s mainly known for producing unscripted fare like “Beverly Hills Pawn,” “Addicted,” Fox Sports’ “Beyond the Glory” and three “30 for 30” documentaries for ESPN Films, including “The Price of Gold” that will air in January.
However, the Legendary deal will now enable Asylum, founded in 2003, to expand further into non-scripted fare, sports and other genres as it develops projects for multiple platforms.
Next year, the company will release its first film, “Small Time,” written and directed by “24” co-creator Joel Surnow. It’s currently producing the feature-length documentary “Happy Valley,” about the sexual abuse scandal that rocked Penn State University and its football team.
“This is an incredible deal that allows Asylum to scale our existing business beyond what we could have imagined,” said Steve Michaels, president and CEO of Asylum and Jonathan Koch, president and chief creative officer in a joint statement. Both n ow report to Rosenblum. “In terms of our programming philosophies and the audiences we’re trying to build and serve, Legendary is a perfect match.”
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Legendary chief Thomas Tull announced the deal at UBS’ 41st annual Global Media & Communications Conference in New York on Monday.
“This is an exciting and significant acquisition for Legendary which confirms our commitment to building a global multi-dimensional television business,” Rosenblum said. “Asylum’s terrific track-record, relationships and current television content gives Legendary a base to expand and quickly diversify our television business.”
Deal follows last week’s announcement that Legendary TV’s division brokered a multi-year deal with Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld’s Red Hour Films to develop and produce exclusive content for both TV and digital platforms.
Pact was the first major deal for Rosenblum, the former head of Warner Bros. Television, who became Legendary’s TV chief this summer.