‘Limitless,’ ‘Catfish’ Expected to Continue Despite Relativity Woes

Relativity Media is in the midst of disruptive financial problems, but several of the most popular TV properties to come from the shop will continue to air, according to people familiar with the programs.

“We will continue to move forward with a robust production slate of scripted and non-scripted shows during the reorganization process,” Ryan Kavanaugh, the entrepreneur who is chief executive of the beleaguered production house, said in a letter posted on the company’s website. “In our television business,Limitless,’ which is based on the Relativity movie starring Bradley Cooper, is slated to debut on CBS’ primetime lineup this fall. And we continue to leverage our MTV ratings hit ‘Catfish’ by developing a number of international versions of the show, as well a planned sequel called ‘Truce,’ which is currently in production.”

This may be the one bright spot in a process that could see Relativity pushed toward auction. Relativity’s television business started as a production company in 2008, and now includes over 29 series in production and more than 46 contracted pilots and presentations, including eight upcoming scripted shows, according to a filing by Brian Kushner, Relativity’s chief restructuring officer, made July 30 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York. The business generated approximately $96.6 million in revenue in 2014. Other series in production include “The Great Food Truck Race” for Food Network, “Kim of Queens” for Lifetime Network and “Young and Hungry” for ABC Family.

The Relativity TV unit is still pitching shows to networks and expects to be part of some pickup announcements made during the current Television Critics Association tour, where TV networks talk up their future plans, according to a person familiar with the situation. The mandate from lenders is to continue operations, this person said, and executives there have made calls to TV networks to explain the current situation.

“Limitless” — a drama about a drug that can help people use the entirely of their brain — has gotten some attention because Cooper is expected to appear in it on occasion. CBS TV Studios acquired the rights to the movie from Relativity, which is attached as a producer, and Relativity is not financing or distributing the program, according to a person familiar with the situation. Bankruptcy would not undo the grant of any of the rights CBS currently holds, this person said.

“Catfish,” meanwhile, has been a steady part of MTV’s lineup in recent seasons. The network’s understanding from Relativity is that the program would not be affected by the current bankruptcy proceedings, according to a person familiar with the situation. Meanwhile, Relativity has no current ties to “Young and Hungry,” according to a person familiar with the program, though it may have gotten a credit on the show in the past.

A spokeswoman for Food Network declined to comment. “Kim of Queens” has not aired on Lifetime in several months and is not expected to return to the network.

Shows already in production are least likely to succumb, as they are already commissioned by networks and paid for by licensing fees.

More TV

  • Lil Nas X and BTSVariety Hitmakers

    Lil Nas X and BTS to Team Up for Grammy Performance

    Was Lil Nas X the pop culture phenomenon of 2019, or was it BTS? Either way, the Grammys have it covered — and within a single number. The Recording Academy and CBS officially confirmed Thursday that the rapper and the K-pop group will perform together on the awards telecast Jan. 26. It’s not the first [...]

  • Tubi-and-TV-Azteca

    Intl. TV Newswire: NATPE Miami Sales Special and the AVoD Revolution

    In this week’s special NATPE: Miami International TV Newswire, Variety looks at the AVoD revolution through a new deal between Tubi and Mexico’s Azteca, ITV and Kew Media sell big across the Americas and two high-profile HBO Latin America series join Hulu Japan’s Latin American showcase. Tubi and Azteca Presage AVoD Revolution Tubi, the world’s largest AVoD [...]

  • CHICAGO MED -- "Leave the Choice

    TV Ratings: NBC's 'Chicago' Dramas Tick Down, Still Top Wednesday

    NBC’s trio of “Chicago” dramas ticked down in the TV ratings last night, but there’s no need to call the police, the fire brigade or an ambulance quite yet. “Chicago Med,” “Fire” and “P.D.” were still the top three shows on the night, scoring a 1.1, a 1.1 and a 1.0 rating respectively among adults [...]

  • Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com 22/01/2020 -

    NATPE 2020: TV Biz Looks Back and Forward as Streaming Wars Ensue

    MIAMI — The atmosphere at the annual NATPE conference this year was a bit of old school and a lot of new school. In keeping with NATPE’s remit as a content market, hopeful stars of new fall talk show prospects pressed the flesh in a flurry of meetings and receptions with station buyers. MGM TV’s [...]

  • NBC News Launches Documentary Studio for

    NBC News Launches Documentary Studio for Streaming-Video Era (EXCLUSIVE)

    NBC News hopes to be among those vying to make the next “Civil War,” “Capturing the Friedmans” or “Blackfish.” After closing down its long-running Peacock Productions non-fiction unit, NBC News is quickly getting back into the documentary business with NBC News Studios. The new division, led by Liz Cole, will produce premium documentaries, docu-series, select [...]


    Baston, Symon, Martinez Unveil Elefantec Global (EXCLUSIVE)

    MIAMI  — Three of Latin America’s best known TV execs – José ‘Pepe’ Bastón, Jeff Symon, Carlos Martínez – have unveiled Elefantec Global, a content production-distribution house which adds a  new and significant player to Latin America’s – and Turkey’s – content creation scene. Based out of Los Angeles, Miami and Mexico City, Elefantec Global [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content