Bear Grylls, the face of survival and outdoor adventure television, and his longtime producing partner, Delbert Shoopman, have teamed with leading global production and distribution powerhouse Banijay Group to launch production company The Natural Studios, which will produce both non-scripted and scripted adventure content.
The company, with Grylls and Shoopman as co-CEOs, is funded by Banijay, which serves as its production and distribution partner. Grylls and Shoopman will maintain full strategic control, Banijay said. The outfit will “develop original IP with mass global appeal and nurture the next generation of adrenaline-fueled TV stars worldwide,” according to a statement.
Grylls said: “At its heart this is about building the ultimate home of adventure programming worldwide. The Natural Studios will be providing a home for the best adventure talent to help them create shows with us that inspire and move people to go for it in their lives and to never give up.”
The launch cements Banijay’s position as one of the leading companies in the adventure space, building on a reputation established with brands such as “Survivor,” “71 Degrees North,” “Fort Boyard,” “The Crystal Maze,” “SAS: Who Dares Wins” and “Stars on the Rocks.”
Marco Bassetti, CEO at Banijay Group, said: “In a crowded marketplace, with many new players, only strong talents can cut through and as the face of adventure globally, Bear does just this. Both he and Del bring an incredibly strong portfolio and track record in this space and fit harmoniously with our existing catalog of world-class adventure entertainment brands.
“Further bolstering our strong expertise in the adventure field, and instantly building our audiences worldwide, The Natural Studios was the perfect fit for us and supports our organic growth strategy internationally. Already open for business, we are confident the new label has a strong path ahead and we look forward to collaborating on building an even bigger following for their brands across the globe.”
The deal was brokered by ACF Investment Bank, as advisors to Grylls and Shoopman.
Grylls and Shoopman’s shows, collectively, have been watched by more than 2 billion people worldwide with an aggregated audience of 120 million for “Running Wild.” And most recently, 3.6 billion online impressions were secured when Grylls embarked on an adventure with Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.
Grylls originally starred in Discovery’s hit TV series “Man vs. Wild” across seven seasons, before hosting the NBC and National Geographic Channel series “Running Wild With Bear Grylls,” which saw him take global stars such as Julia Roberts, Ben Stiller, President Barack Obama and Modi on adventures into the wild. Grylls has also hosted Channel 4 BAFTA-winning series “The Island With Bear Grylls,” Emmy-nominated “Hostile Planet” for National Geographic, and Emmy-nominated “You Vs. Wild” for Netflix.