Sharon Horgan’s burgeoning shingle Merman is launching a new digital arm, Mermade, and has brought in a clutch of seasoned industry execs the run the new U.S.- and U.K.-based business. Mermade will focus on shortform series for streamers, brands, and publishers.
Rene Rechtman and Dan’l Hewitt, formerly of Disney-backed Maker Studios, will be non-executive directors. Joshua Buckingham, a former commissioner for Channel 4 and its digital service, All4, will be the U.K. managing director. In the U.S., Melanie Donkers will be Mermade’s development director. She joins from Vice Media-backed producer Pulse Films and has also been at Fullscreen.
Merman Global managing partners Jeremy Rainbird in London and Kira Carstensen in Los Angeles will run Mermade, alongside Horgan and producer Clelia Mountford, who co-founded Merman in 2014.
“Mermade gives creators control over their output, fostering new and original voices with subject matter that is not bound to convention,” said Horgan. “The digital space allows us to create a format that fits the idea, instead of creating an idea to fit the format. The idea comes first. It’s about working with diverse creators and blurring the lines between TV, film and branded entertainment.”
Horgan’s writing and acting credits include “Catastrophe” for Channel 4 (and on Amazon in the U.S.) and “Divorce” for HBO. She has an overall deal with Amazon. Merman also makes series including “Motherland” and the upcoming “Women on the Verge.” The Mermade launch follows the roll-out of a branded-content division. Horgan and Mountford’s company now spans regular TV, commercials, ad-funded content, and digital.
Buckingham said that Mermade is lining up its first projects. “We are already working with an electric mix of writers, performers and directors and with them we want to embrace the way audiences actually consume content and innovate storytelling accordingly,” he said.
(Pictured L-R: Jeremy Rainbird, Kira Carstensen, Sharon Horgan, Clelia Mountford)