Culture of Collaboration Spurs Activity at RadicalMedia

RadicalMedia, a player on the New York production scene for nearly 25 years, has two floors worth of hustle and bustle going on most days at its heavily trafficked West Village headquarters.

The production company, founded in 1993 by producer Jon Kamen, is active in everything from film, TV, commercials, and music videos to post-production, app development, and staging live branded “experiences” for corporate clients. Radical boasts the infrastructure and the reputation that make it perfectly situated to capitalize on the explosive growth in the demand for content, particularly the documentary and music-driven projects for which the company is best known.

“We’ve gone from three to four series and three to four films in production a year, to now 12 series in production and four to five films at any given time,” says Justin Wilkes, Radical partner and president of entertainment. “It’s been a rising tide that has lifted all boats.”

Among Radical’s recent projects were the Oscar-nominated doc “What Happened, Miss Simone?” (which won an Emmy this month), Netflix’s “Keith Richards: Under the Influence,” and the Epix documentary series “American Divided.” Coming soon is the doc “Hamilton’s America” for PBS, three years in the making with Lin-Manuel Miranda, and “Mars,” a hybrid scripted-documentary series that Radical is shepherding with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Television for National Geographic Channel.

The growth spurred the company to recruit MTV alum Dave Sirulnick as a partner last year. He likens the environment to that of MTV in its early days — a place that prizes “What if we did this?” brainstorming in the hallways. The industrial-style offices of Radical on Hudson Street — replete with open ceilings and avant-garde art pieces — are outfitted with glass walls to encourage communication.

“Jon and Justin have created the kind of physical space that creates an energy that is really easy to tap into,” Sirulnick says.

RadicalMedia took a detour from its roots in 2010 by selling a 60% stake to European production giant FremantleMedia. Less than five years later, Kamen, Wilkes, and Radical partner Frank Scherma, who heads the Los Angeles office, bought most of it back.

Kamen, who is chairman-CEO, says it became clear that the company’s most important asset is its culture and willingness to tackle interesting ideas — a strategy that was sometimes at odds with Fremantle’s agenda.

“The kind of cross-pollination that we get with people of different disciplines feeding off of one another — that’s a direct result of the culture we have in New York,” Kamen says. “There are not many places you can work where in one room you’ve got someone developing a phenomenally complicated app for Taylor Swift, and in another room someone is making a Netflix documentary on Keith Richards, and in another room someone is taking a trip to Mars.”

Beyond its homegrown activity, Radical provides workspace for a number of notables who work with the company on a semi-regular basis. The “artists in residence” currently include Steve Buscemi (Radical produces his AOL series “Park Bench,” which won an Emmy this month); Stanley Tucci; directors Bennett Miller, Derek Cianfrance, Terry Gilliam and Ron Howard; documentary filmmakers Morgan Neville, Joe Berlinger, Fisher Stevens, and Liz Garbus; and Robert Redford and his producing partner, Laura Michalchyshyn.

The post-production facilities are also a draw for creative talent, notably Cary Fukunaga, who cut “Beasts of No Nation” at Radical.

Dave O’Connor, Radical’s exec producer and VP of entertainment, says the atmosphere in the office mirrors the close-knit nature of the New York film and TV community.

“New York is a drop-in town, built on serendipitous connections and chance encounters, because there’s an openness to the city,” he says. “No matter how much you’ve planned out your day, there’s always something crazy that happens here.”

(Pictured: RadicalMedia’s  Justin Wilkes, Jon Kamen, Dave O’Connor and Dave Sirulnick) 

More TV

  • SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases

    SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases 'The Magicians' Season 5 Clip (Watch)

    In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, Syfy shares a clip from “The Magicians” Season 5, and Amazon sets the Season 4 premiere of “The Expanse.” CASTING Julie Gonzalo and Staz Nair have joined the cast of “Supergirl” for its upcoming fifth season. Gonzalo will portray iconic DC character Andrea Rojas aka Acrata, a polished businesswoman [...]

  • Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 --

    'Doom Patrol' Renewed, Season 2 to Stream on DC Universe and HBO Max

    “Doom Patrol” has been renewed for a second season and will soon be available outside of DC Universe. At San Diego Comic-Con, series executive producer Jeremy Carver and star Diane Guerrero announced not only that the show will be back for another season but also that it will be available on HBO Max, the upcoming [...]

  • Teyonah Parris

    Teyonah Parris Cast in 'WandaVision' at Disney Plus

    “Mad Men” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” actress Teyonah Parris has been cast in Disney Plus’ “Wanda Vision” series. She will play an adult version of Monica Rambeau, a child character introduced in the film “Captain Marvel.” The announcement was made at Marvel’s Comic-Con presentation. The forthcoming Disney+ series about Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth [...]

  • Zachary Quinto as Charlie Manx - NOS4A2

    'NOS4A2' Renewed for Season 2 at AMC

    AMC has renewed “NOS4A2” for a second season. The news was announced during the show’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con and ahead of the Season 1 finale. Season 2 will consist of 10 episodes and is slated to air in 2020. The series, which is based on the 2013 Joe Hill novel of the same [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris

    SAG-AFTRA Signs Netflix Deal With Expanded Coverage

    SAG-AFTRA and streaming giant Netflix have agreed to a new three-year contract with expanded coverage for union performers. Netflix has previously employed SAG-AFTRA members under the union’s standard master contracts for television and film and had been signing on a production by production basis. The union announced Saturday that the new deal recognizes performance capture as covered work [...]

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show photocall,

    Cara Delevingne Says Her 'Carnival Row' Character Is Pansexual, Explains Defending Taylor Swift Against Justin Bieber

    Cara Delevingne and Orlando Bloom’s love affair may be at the center of the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series “Carnival Row,” but the British actress doesn’t want viewers to assume her faerie character is heterosexual. “I’m a pansexual faerie,” Delevingne told Variety during an exclusive one-on-one interview at Comic-Con adding that there are other queer [...]

  • 'Russian Doll' Star Charlie Barnett Joins

    'Russian Doll' Star Charlie Barnett Joins 'Arrow' Final Season

    “Russian Doll” standout Charlie Barnett is joining the “Arrowverse.” Barnett, who is having a busy year having also appeared in Netflix’s “Tales of the City,” comes on board in the series regular role of John Diggle, Jr., son of David Ramsey’s character. News of his casting was announced at the show’s farewell Comic-Con panel where things [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content