Financial details of the sale were not disclosed. Big Fish will continue to operate under its own moniker and be led by president Dan Cesareo, who reports to MGM unscripted TV head Barry Poznick.
The purchase brings another busy unscripted TV shop into the MGM tent. The Lion has been shopping for producers who are active in the cable reality market to complement the broadcast network strength delivered by MGM Television and Digital president Mark Burnett, who remains a hands-on producer of reality franchises such as “The Voice,” “Survivor,” and “Shark Tank.” MGM bought Burnett’s One Three Media banner in 2015 and 2016. Since then, it has also scooped up “Real Housewives” producer Evolution Media and Orion Television.
“Dan Cesareo is an innovator who has grown Big Fish into a dynamic company. We are going to have fun together,” Burnett said. Said Poznick: “Big Fish has created a wide-range of programming that is compelling, edgy, and must-watch. We are excited to put the full support of MGM Studios behind Dan and the team to make Big Fish even bigger.”
Cesareo launched Big Fish in 2006. The company has scored recently with the A&E series “Live PD,” which offers live feeds of beat cops on patrol in multiple cities. After becoming a sleeper hit in its first season, A&E ordered 100 additional episodes last year. The series airs in a three-hour block on Friday and Saturday nights. “Live PD” has spawned the spinoff “Live PD Presents: Women on Patrol,” which bowed this week on A&E sibling Lifetime. Other series hailing from Big Fish include TLC’s “Tattoo Girls,” MTV’s “Just the Tattoo of Us,” and ESPN’s “Chris Paul’s Chapter 3.”
“Big Fish Entertainment has been built over many years by the hard work and commitment of an enormously talented team of showrunners, development executives, producers, editors and many other dedicated professionals,” said Cesareo. “I am truly thrilled now to be part of the MGM family, which will allow Big Fish to scale and broaden, while keeping the brand’s spirit of agility and independence intact.”
Big Fish was repped in the sale by Todd Weinstein and Tara Senior at Del Shaw Moonves, CAA, Steve Hurdle at Loeb & Loeb, and by Ron Milkes and Bryan Bowles of Bryor Media. MGM was repped by Latham & Watkins.
(Pictured: “Live PD”)