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While running NBCUniversal’s boutique TV studio UCP, Dawn Olmstead thought of the company behind such shows as “Dirty John” and “The Umbrella Academy” as something of an indie shingle inside a larger conglomerate. But then she took the job as CEO and partner at Anonymous Content.

At UCP, Olmstead had worked with Anonymous on “Mr. Robot” and “Homecoming.” But once inside the production and management company, “I realized, ‘This is what it really feels like to be independent,’” Olmstead says. “And in the best of ways, I think, because the landscape is shifting so rapidly, to be at a company like Anonymous, when they see something, they can pivot really quickly. This particular company has always been about finding difficult stories to tell and those kind of visionary auteurs.”

Anonymous is one of several production companies that have eschewed overall deals or alliances with major studios, networks or streamers in order to remain flexible and work with as many outlets and partners as possible. And as the Independent Spirit Awards unveils its inaugural TV categories this year, it’s worth noting other indie-minded companies including A24, Annapurna and Blumhouse are also stepping up their TV output.

Still, it’s tricky being an indie in TV these days: On the one hand, there are a growing number of outlets, particularly in the streaming space, hungry for premium content and anxious to grow their volume, fast. (“That desire to have more content really feels palpable right now,” says Hello Sunshine film and television president Lauren Neustadter. “Being able to be flexible, so that we can go anywhere and work with anyone, has been really great.”) But those streamers are increasingly looking in-house for their fare: Either they’re paying top dollar to grab A-list producers or intellectual property, rebooting popular titles already in their library, or relying on their sister studios to keep everything in the family.

The benefits of being independent shift “month to month,” according to one producer who preferred to stay anonymous.

In the late 1990s, the end of the financial interest and syndication rules (“fin-syn”) put the squeeze on a once-vibrant independent TV business, as networks started stocking their lineups with in-house fare. And eventually even prolific companies such as Carsey-Werner got out of that game. Five years ago, a new explosion in cable and streaming buyers convinced producers including Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV, Jerry Bruckheimer and Mark Gordon to strike out on their own and breathe new life into the indie TV model.

That trend wasn’t for everyone, however. The overhead dollars and guaranteed network pipeline that come with overall deals proved too hard to ignore for some folks including Bruckheimer, who eventually reversed course and struck a new pact with CBS Studios. The fickle nature of TV buyers — some of whom entered the scripted game to much fanfare, then pulled back out (Discovery, WGN, E! and others) — also made it tough for other producers to stick it out alone. And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Olmstead says Anonymous, which launched its TV operations with a pod deal at Paramount, plans to stay independent by mixing the level of its involvement in series productions. In some cases, it will continue to serve as a studio, and at other times as a producer.

“You really have to have something that they can’t get their hands on, whether it’s a piece of talent or a piece of IP, and it has to be really meaningful for them to really look at you as an outside studio,” she says. “If you look at the last two years it’s gotten even harder as the platforms have built up their own studios. So we are open to doing whatever is right for us. And that’s the great thing about being independent, you can see where the winds are blowing, and then move on it like a speedboat.”

Sony Pictures TV could technically be considered an indie studio, as it doesn’t possess a major network or streaming arm — but Sony itself (via Columbia Pictures) has long been considered one of the major studios in Hollywood, so we’ll put a bit of an asterisk by its name. Ditto MGM, which has an outlet in Epix, or companies with outlets in other territories, like ITV. Here’s a roundup of other independent production companies making a go of it in the scripted landscape. These companies aren’t aligned with a major studio under an overall deal, or an investment by one. There are a ton more indies in the unscripted game, but we’ll save that for another roundup.

Amblin TV
Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank, co-presidents
Current TV: “Amazing Stories,” “Animaniacs,” “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” “Brave New World,” “Resident Alien,” “Roswell, New Mexico,” “Masters of the Air,” “Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai,” “Tiny Toons Looniversity,” “Halo”

A24
Ravi Nandan, David Fenkel, Daniel Katz, partners
Current TV: “Ramy,” “Euphoria,” “Moonbase 8”

AGBO
Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, partners
Current TV: “From,” “Citadel,” “Magic: The Gathering”

Alcon TV
Broderick Johnson and Andrew A. Kosove, co-founders and co-CEOs
Current TV: “The Expanse,” “Blade Runner — Black Lotus”

Annapurna TV
Sue Naegle, chief content officer,”
Current TV: “The Plot Against America,” “I Love This For You,” “Monsterland,” “Hot Pink,” “Dead Ringers,” “The Staircase,” “Pam & Tommy”

Anonymous Content
Dawn Olmstead, partner/CEO
Current TV: “Briarpatch,” “Enslaved,” “Gaslit,” “Homecoming,” “Dickinson,” “Home Before Dark,” “Bonding,” “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey,” “The 39 Steps”

Avalon
Richard Allen-Turner and Jon Thoday, co-executive chairmen; Laura Kennedy, CEO
Current TV: “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay,” “Breeders,” “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” “Starstruck,” “Flatbush Misdemeanors”

Big Beach
Robin Schwartz, head of TV
Current TV: “Gorilla and the Bird,” “What the Constitution Means to Me,” “The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show”

Blue Ice Pictures
Lance Samuels, president; Daniel Iron, vice president
Current TV: “Ginny & Georgia,” “Surrealestate”

Blumhouse TV
Chris McCumber, president, and Jeremy Gold, president of production
Current TV: “The Good Lord Bird,” “Into the Dark,” “A House on the Bayou,” “American Refugee”

Boat Rocker Media
David Fortier and Ivan Schneeberg, co-executive chairman
Current TV: “Daniel Spellbound,” “Invasion,” “Get Even”

Bron Studios
David Davoli, chief content officer, TV group
Current TV: “Kin,” “The Defeated,” “Call My Agent!”

Critical Content
Tom Forman, chairman/CEO
Current TV: “Ginny & Georgia”

Davis Entertainment
John Davis, chairman, and John Fox, president
Current TV: “Rebel,” “Magnum P.I.,” “The Equalizer,” “The Blacklist”

DeLine Pictures
Donald De Line, founder
Current TV: “Chapelwaite,” “Don’t Make Me Go”

Dynamic Television
Daniel March and Klaus Zimmermann, managing partners
Current TV: “Ginny & Georgia,” “Van Helsing”

Endeavor Content
Chris Rice and Graham Taylor, co-presidents
Current TV: “Killing Eve,” “Scenes from a Marriage,” “See,” “Truth Be Told,” “Roar,” “Lady in the Lake,” “Severance,” “Birth of Cool,” “Tokyo Vice,” “Life & Beth,” “Nine Perfect Strangers”

Endemol Shine North America
Cris Abrego, CEO
Current TV: “Utopia,” “Ripley”

Entertainment One
Michael Lombardo, president of global television; Pancho Mansfield, president of global scripted programming
Current TV: “Cruel Summer,” “The Rookie,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Nurses,” “Private Eyes,” “Burden of Truth,” “Red Rose,” “Anna K,” “Teacher,” “Tenacity,” “Yellowjackets”

Fabel Entertainment
Henrik Bastin, CEO; Melissa Aouate, partner/president
Current TV: “Bosch,” “Bosch” spinoff, “Invisible Monsters,” “The Ten O’Clock People”

Fremantle
Jennifer Mullin, CEO; Dante Di Loreto, president of scripted entertainment
Current TV: “Mosquito Coast,” “No Man’s Land,” “Bang Bang Baby,” “American Gods”

Funny or Die
Mike Farah, CEO
Current TV: “No Activity,” “Guilty Party”

Gaumont TV
Nicolas Seydoux, president; Sidonie Dumas, CEO
Current TV: “Lupin,” “F is For Family,” “El Presidente,” “Stillwater,” “The Barbarians”

Hello Sunshine
Reese Witherspoon, principal; Sarah Haden, CEO; Lauren Levy Neustadter, president of film and TV
Current TV: “The Morning Show,” “Truth Be Told,” “Daisy Jones & The Six,” Colleen McGuinness project, “Surface,” “The Last Thing He Told Me,” “From Scratch”

Insurrection Media
Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, CEO
Current TV: “Tiny Pretty Things”

JAX Media
Tony Hernandez, founder/CEO; Lilly Burns, co-founder and head of creative
Current TV: “The Conners,” “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” “Desus & Mero,” “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” “Younger,” “Search Party,” “The Other Two,” “Emily in Paris,” “Bonding,” “Russian Doll”

Legendary Television
Chris Albrecht, head
Current TV: “Debris,” “Lost in Space,” “Lightyears,” “Paper Girls,” “Dune: The Sisterhood”

MACRO
Charles D. King, founder/CEO; Marta Fernandez, president, MACRO TV Studios
Current TV: “Gentefied,” “Birth of Cool”

Made Up Stories
Bruna Papandrea, principal; Allie Goss, EVP, development and production, film and TV
Current TV: “The Undoing,” “Tell Me Your Secrets,” “Roar,” “Nine Perfect Strangers,” “Anatomy of a Scandal,” “Pieces of Her”

Mojo Films
Gary Fleder, president
Current TV: “Tiny Pretty Things”

Muse Entertainment
Michael Prupas, founder/president/CEO; Joel Rice, president, USA
Current TV: “Coroner,” “The Murders”

New Regency
Yariv Milchan, chairman/CEO; Michael Schaefer, president
Current TV: “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” “Fraggle Rock”

Propagate Content
Howard T. Owens, founder/co-CEO; Ben Silverman, chairman/co-CEO
Current TV: “Charmed,” “Let’s Be Real,” “Rebelde,” “Chasers,” “Shaka: King of the Zulu Nation”

Pulse Films
Thomas Benski and Marisa Clifford, co-founders
Current TV: “Gangs of London”

Sister
Jane Featherstone, co-founder/CEO; Elisabeth Murdoch, co-founder/executive chairman; Stacey Snider, co-founder/Global CEO; Kate Fenske, chief creative officer
Current TV: “Gangs of London,” “Cleaning Up,” “The Power”

Skydance Media
David Ellison, CEO; Dana Goldberg, chief creative officer; Bill Bost, president, TV
Current TV: “Jack Ryan,” “Grace and Frankie,” “Jack Reacher,” “Foundation”

Sonar Entertainment
David Ellender, CEO
Current TV: “Hunters,” “The Mysterious Benedict Society”

Starlings Television
Chris Philip, president
Current TV: “Departure,” “Pandora,” “Veil,” “Trap”

3 Arts
Howard Klein, Michael Rotenberg, David Miner, Erwin Stoff, partners
Current TV: “The Resident,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” “Insecure,” “Mr. Mayor,” “Chad,” “Tacoma FD,” “Upload,” “Mythic Quest,” “Harlem,” “High Desert,” “Hack,” “Rap Sh*t,” “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” “Julia,” “Mulligan,” “From Scratch,” Craig Robinson project, “Beavis and Butt-Head,” “Nice White Parents,” “The Serpent Queen”

Tyler Perry Studios
Tyler Perry, principal
Current TV: “Tyler Perry’s Assisted Living,” “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne,” “Sistas,” “The Oval,” “The Have and Have Nots,” “Tyler Perry’s Bruh,” “Tyler Perry’s Ruthless,” “All the Queen’s Men”

Westbrook Studios
Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, co-founders; Terence Carter, head of TV
Current TV: “Cobra Kai,” “Bel-Air”

Wiip
Paul Lee, principal
Current TV: “Mare of Easttown,” “Dickinson,” “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” “The Uninhabitable Earth,” “Pistol,” “The White House Plumbers”