Leaders of FremantleMedia and UFA gathered Sunday night at the German Academy New York to toast the centennial of Germany’s prolific UFA production banner.
Wolf Bauer, who recently retired after nearly 30 years as CEO, and his successor, Nico Hofmann were on hand to discuss the company’s legacy. Sarah Doole, director of global drama for UFA parent FremantleMedia, and Jennifer Mullin, CEO of FremantleMedia North America, also spoke.
Bauer said UFA’s growth during the past three decades came as a result of a concerted effort to diversify the company and a focus on high-end production in every sector, from drama series to daytime serials to game shows and unscripted fare.
“Quality in every area” is a hallmark of the company, Bauer said. At the time he took the helm in 1991, UFA was typically producing a few films and TV movies a year, Bauer said. Today it delivers about 2,500 hours of programming. Hofmann said the company’s focus is on partnering with strong creative talent and “investing in their vision.”
Doole, who is based in London, added that having UFA in the Fremantle fold has helped the company take a global approach to scripted development. The company has grown its roster to include shows ranging from UFA’s “Deutschland 83” to Starz’s “American Gods.”
“We realized that not every great drama series is going to be produced in English,” Doole said.
(Pictured: Nico Hofmann and Sarah Doole)