Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, head of Fox Broadcasting’s original digital programming, is nailing up his own shingle with Insurrection Media, a studio aiming to produce TV series for digital-first distribution.
L.A.-based Insurrection Media will be a “talent friendly” studio targeted to over-the-top video platforms as well as broadcast and cable networks internationally. Focus will be scripted, live-action comedy and drama projects with relatively low budgets, but Van Rensselaer said showrunners will have much more creative freedom than in traditional TV.
“We’re trying to more efficiently experiment and launch TV hits, using the Internet approach where you’ve got more efficiency and ability to move a little faster through the development process so there are more shots on goal,” he said.
“There’s a great funnel of up-and-coming talent that haven’t gone through the traditional TV business,” Van Rensselaer added.
Allen DeBevoise’s Third Wave Capital Partners has made an equity capital investment in Insurrection Media; Van Rensselaer declined to disclose the amount of the funding. DeBevoise, chairman of Machinima who has stakes in several other digital-media companies, will serve on Insurrection’s board of advisers.
“We invested in Kiliaen’s vision because we believe strongly in his leadership and ability to create and grow a new kind of pipeline that will uninhibitedly harness the imagination of talent to build a library of world-class (intellectual property) in original content,” DeBevoise said in a statement.
Van Rensselaer will exit his position as Fox’s senior VP multiplatform programming at the end of July. A Fox rep said the network remains committed to multiplatform content and expects to name a replacement for him shortly.
Before running Fox’s digital content efforts, Van Rensselaer served in marketing and business development roles at News Corp., which in 2010 acquired Skiff, an e-reader platform company he co-founded.
At Fox, Van Rensselaer oversaw several digital “micro-studios” to incubate original scripted content. That includes Party Over Here, a live-action comedy unit in partnership with the Lonely Island’s Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone; and one with Keith Quinn and Jonathan Stern of Abominable Pictures, which resulted in a series order for the show “Filthy Sexy Teen$” from Fullscreen with additional shows in the pipeline.
“It’s been a very fulfilling year of making shows through Kiliaen’s lab at Fox,” Stern and Quinn said in a statement. “His empowering philosophy and agile approach to developing, shooting and selling projects has huge advantages creatively and commercially.”
In addition, Van Rensselaer led Fox’s deal with WIGS, the digital production company formed by director-producers Jon Avnet (“Black Swan”), Rodrigo Garcia (“In Treatment”) and Jake Avnet that produced scripted content including drama series “Blue,” starring Julia Stiles. “Blue,” which first ran on YouTube, is currently available on Hulu and is airing on Lifetime in the U.K. The WIGS team has since launched a new venture, Indigenous Media with backing from ITV and WPP. “Indigenous Media looks forward to collaborating with Kiliaen in his new endeavors,” Jon Avnet and Garcia said in a statement.
For Insurrection, Van Rensselaer has secured office space in Century City, and expects to make several hires in the next few months — while maintaining a lean operation.
“It is going to be a very agile, small company at the corporate-overhead level,” he said. “The idea is to put as many dollars as possible onto the screen.”