CBS takes stake in independent production company Kapital Entertainment, creator of 'Santa Clarita Diet'

CBS Corp. has taken a 50% ownership stake in Kapital Entertainment, an independent production company, as part of an effort to build up its programming assets.

Kapital, founded by Aaron Kaplan, has created a wide range of series for broadcast networks, cable and streaming services, including the CBS comedy “Life in Pieces,” the new Netflix series “Santa Clarita Diet” and the upcoming drama “The Chi” for Showtime.

Under the deal announced Friday, CBS will provide co-financing for future Kapital programs and handle their worldwide sales. Kaplan will remain chief executive at Kapital, which will continue to operate as an independent company and make shows for various networks.

CBS will get revenue from most of the series Kapital has in production as well as future projects.

CBS has been aggressive in meeting the demand for TV programming that has increased in recent years with the emergence of streaming video services and the growth of international broadcasting. Kapital will provide CBS with more content to sell.

The deal is unusual for CBS because it does not grant the broadcast giant exclusive rights to the shows that are produced. Instead, Kaplan can shop his projects to other networks and streaming services that compete with CBS and its Showtime unit.

“CBS is a content company, and this new venture immediately establishes another source to create more programming assets for our distribution pipeline,” CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves said in a statement. “Aaron is a talented and creative producer, a skilled program packager and a very smart businessperson. We’re excited to build this partnership together.”

Kapital also has a joint venture with London-based Merman, which produces “Divorce” for HBO and “Catastrophe” for Amazon.

Kaplan, who formed his shop in 2009 after working as a top talent agent at the William Morris Agency, boasts one of the hottest track records in television. His shows typically feature A-list talent. For example, his new comedy for Netflix, “Santa Clarita Diet,” stars Drew Barrymore.

Having proven stars is a strong advantage in the era of peak-TV, which is industry lingo for the glut of about 450 programs currently on networks, cable channels and streaming services. In such a landscape, networks struggle to get attention for their shows.

Times staff writer Meg James contributed to this report.

stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio

 


UPDATES:

11:10 p.m.: This article was updated with additional background on Kapital.

9:25 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details on the deal.

This article was originally published at 8:55 a.m.

An earlier version of this article said CBS is taking a minority stake in Kapital Entertainment. The network has taken a 50% ownership stake in the independent production company.
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