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Legendary buys TV production firm Asylum Entertainment

EntertainmentTelevision IndustryTelevisionMoviesArts and CultureMedia IndustryBarry Pepper

Legendary Entertainment is expanding its television production repertoire by acquiring Asylum Entertainment, the firm behind the biographical miniseries "The Kennedys."

Legendary, the entertainment company controlled by film producer and financier Thomas Tull, announced Monday it had completed a deal to buy 100% of Asylum Entertainment, a 10-year-old production firm.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Asylum specializes in unscripted and scripted fare. The 2011 miniseries "The Kennedys" featured Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, Tom Wilkinson and Katie Holmes. Originally produced for the History Channel, the network abandoned the project after complaints from Kennedy family members.

The independent Reelz Channel ultimately broadcast the series, which scored 10 Emmy nominations.

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Asylum's other credits include the sports documentary series "30 for 30" for ESPN and the 2013 movie "Ring of Fire" for Lifetime Entertainment with Jewel playing June Carter Cash.  Asylum is producing "Happy Valley" for A&E, which looks at how the sexual abuse scandal involving assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky seared the cultural fabric of Penn State University.

Legendary has been raising its profile in sports-themed content, producing this year's biographical feature film on Jackie Robinson, "42."

Asylum Entertainment’s founders, Chief Executive Steve Michaels and Chief Creative Officer Jonathan Koch, plan to stay on to run Asylum as a somewhat separate entity.  They will report to Bruce Rosenblum, the former Warner Bros. television chief who became president of Legendary's television and digital media businesses last summer.

“This is an incredible deal that allows Asylum to scale our existing business beyond what we could have imagined,” Michaels and Koch said in a statement. “In terms of our programming philosophies and the audiences we’re trying to build and serve, Legendary is a perfect match."
 
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