A little over three years ago, the partners at Jax Media took a big gamble.

The New York indie production banner had prospered through its artisanal approach to producing TV series for such multi-hyphenate stars as Samantha Bee, Amy Schumer, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, as well as its ability to execute high-gloss scripted series including “Younger” and “Search Party” on modest budgets.

Jax’s commercial success and creative sensibilities attracted the attention of Imagine Entertainment. The four core Jax partners — producers Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, John Skidmore and Brooke Posch — were nervous as they reached a deal to sell a significant stake to Imagine in early 2018. They worried whether the sale would affect the culture of doing whatever it takes to serve the vision of artists.

“We are a customer-service business,” says Hernandez, who is CEO of the company he founded in 2011.

Today, Jax is bigger and busier than ever, and nerves are quieted. To a partner, the principals say the pact with Imagine has helped energize and enlarge Jax without diluting its boutique-y feel.

Within a year of linking arms with Imagine, Jax aggressively expanded into feature films (after recruiting A24’s John Hodges), set up an unscripted reality division led by Séamus Murphy Mitchell that is working on format development and shows for outlets outside the U.S. through its London office, which opened in 2019 under the direction of Jax Media UK chief Molly Seymour.

“They’ve overperformed for us every year,” Imagine Entertainment chairman Brian Grazer says of Jax. “What I admire most is the boldness of the [creative] choices they make and how they make it happen.”

Jax’s active roster of shows at present ranges from Netflix’s “Russian Doll” and “Emily in Paris” to HBO’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” Showtime’s “Desus & Mero” and ABC’s “The Conners.”

Netflix recently signed a non-exclusive deal with Jax to handle production and development on a number of shows for the streamer. Skidmore sees it as Jax’s opening to move into dramas and hourlong series. “This is something we’ve wanted to do for years,” he says.

Netflix will also help fund the new Jax Jobs initiative designed to open doors and provide training for line producers and other crew positions for people from underrepresented communities. That push is steered for Jax by Michael “Boogie” Pinckney, a longtime associate of director Spike Lee and a first a.d. on “Broad City.”

“I’m a line producer by trade. We have a lot of power over hiring. We know our (industry’s) farm system is broken,” Hernandez says. “We know how to train people. We want to train line producers of color who then can hire other people.”

The Jax Jobs initiative was a byproduct of the production shutdown in the pandemic-battered spring and summer of last year. “When there was nothing shooting we starting talking about how to make the industry more reflective to the country as a whole,” Skidmore says. Jax Jobs was an internal initiative that now has commitments from Netflix to fund additional crew positions and training.

Jax’s operations encompass production services for hire for a slew of networks that lean on them to handle certain types of shows and talent. It also has developed homegrown shows such as HBO Max’s “Search Party” and BET’s now-canceled “The Rundown With Robin Thede.” The mix of internal and for-hire projects ensures a steady stream of creative talent walking through Jax’s doors in New York, Los Angeles and London.

“It was almost impossible to imagine our very small company could grow like this and still protect the kind of mom-and-pop-shop energy that we’ve always had,” says Burns. “We’ve been able to ramp things up in a way that hasn’t changed our ethos.”

She adds that Imagine has given Jax’s leaders a lot of autonomy to generally “keep doing our own weird thing.” Hernandez, who is married to Burns, calls Imagine chiefs Grazer and Ron Howard “the supportive big brothers who taught you how to play Little League.”

Hernandez made his name in the industry as a line producer who worked in New York on commercials and indie films. He was tapped in 2010 to help launch the FX comedy series “Louie,” which was produced on a ultra-low budget in its first season.

From there, Hernandez set out his own shingle as Jax Media (named for his first born son) and scored two early wins with “Broad City” and “Inside Amy Schumer,” both produced with modest budgets for Comedy Central. Jax also delivered Chris Rock’s 2014 indie comedy “Top Five” and 2015’s “A Very Murray Christmas” for Netflix toplined by Bill Murray and Miley Cyrus.

Grazer first heard the name Jax Media when Netflix’s Ted Sarandos was showing off “Very Murray Christmas” to him and noting it was shot in just three and a half days.

“They’re able to make movies for half or a third of the cost (of similar productions) and they look amazing,” Grazer marvels. “And just as important, the stars and the talent love working with them.”

Jax’s auteur method involves producers working closely with show creators to focus on the essence of the story and to realize their vision amid the harsh reality of a budget. Jax producers typically work with writers on scripts from the get-go to ensure that the final product is feasible to produce. One reason why Jax is in-demand as a company is that the core management team gives each project that kind of TLC whether it’s a for-hire production services deal or a Jax original.

“We provide the safety to a Netflix that a giant budget isn’t going to balloon to a stupid budget,” Hernandez says. Sometimes that means kerning and finding a way to write around expensive problems. The message at times has to be “Let’s do an A-plus version of the right amount of pages rather than an A-minus version of everything you wrote,” Hernandez says.

Imagine principal Howard finds the bustle of activity at Jax inspiring. “They take on talent as a fellow producer and give them the respect of saying, ‘I recognize your vision. Now we have to find a way to make it in a way that [a buyer] is willing to bet on,’” Howard says. “I thoroughly agree with that as a creative person myself.”

Posch, who oversees development and scripted content as president of original content, says the expansion of operations makes Jax that much more attractive to the auteurs that it seeks. “It’s great to know that it doesn’t matter whether something will be TV or film, scripted or unscripted,” Posch says. “Now it’s just about helping the talent find the right medium.”

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John Hodges BFAnyc.com/REX/Shutterstock

Skidmore notes that the core leadership trio at Imagine — Grazer, Howard and co-chairman Michael Rosenberg — “are always available to help us out with something if we need it.”

Hodges, who joined Jax in early 2019, says the atmosphere at the company is collaborative and competitive in the best ways. “It pushes me and it pushes us to make our projects better,” Hodges says. “We want to be this great home for content where people come in and connect with the producers who make the most sense for the project.”

Skidmore notes that the core leadership trio at Imagine — Grazer, Howard and co-chairman Michael Rosenberg — “are always available to help us out with something if we need it.”

Imagine has proven to be the ultimate strategic partner, offering capital, industry connections and other key resources, Hernandez says. That is high-octane fuel for a group of producers who live for the snap of the clapboard on a set.

“We’ve got 17 shows, and it doesn’t feel like a runaway train,” Hernandez says. “What it feels like is that we’ve got a bunch of awesome heavy hitters here who want to do business.”

(Pictured: Jax Media partners John Skidmore, Brooke Posch, Lilly Burns and Tony Hernandez)