One of the most formidable personalities in the movie business, Harvey Weinstein, is looking to become a bigger force in the television world.
Just seven months after announcing that it was making a more aggressive push into the television business, Weinstein Co. is now considering spinning off its TV division into a separate company.
The company's ideal scenario would involve partnering with a digital powerhouse like Amazon, Google, Yahoo or Netflix that may be looking for a pipeline of fresh content.
But the TV unit could also be spun off as a publicly traded company.
“The TV business has been an incredibly prosperous and successful endeavor for us,” said Weinstein Co. President David Glasser. “Each year we continue to expand the amount of content we produce for TV, and we're excited to explore opportunities for our TV business to see what makes the most sense for us as a company.”
Best known for its history of producing and distributing Oscar-winning independent films such as “Shakespeare in Love,” “The King's Speech” and “The Artist,” Weinstein Co. initially moved into television both to add a degree of stability to the independent studio's business and to further leverage founder and co-Chair Harvey Weinstein's taste, industry connections and promotional savvy.
Weinstein Co.'s TV arm produces the reality series “Project Runway,” which is entering its 13th season on Lifetime. In addition, the company has developed a number of shows slated for various networks in the coming months, including the reality shows “Cement Heads” on A&E, “Mob Wives” on VH1 and “Threads” on Lifetime, along with a scripted martial arts series called “Marco Polo” that will make its debut on Netflix on Dec. 12. A 10-part scripted series based on the Ten Commandments is also in the works.
Weinstein Co. would anticipate a valuation in excess of the $360 million that British firm ITV paid last year for reality TV production house Leftfield, which produces the reality show “Pawn Stars,” according to a person with knowledge of the plans who declined to speak publicly.
Weinstein Co.'s timing may be fortuitous, as the hunger for content among television studios and Internet streaming services has exploded in recent years, with Yahoo's pickup of the canceled NBC series “Community” as only the most recent example.
Weinstein is expected to talk up his TV business next week at the annual Sun Valley, Idaho, media conference.
Media analyst Brad Adgate of Horizon Media says that he's likely to find no shortage of potential takers: “This is the golden age of television, and there's so much real estate that's opening up for a television studio like Weinstein's. The lines between film and television have been blurred, and [Weinstein] has that portfolio in the film industry, so I don't think it's going to be too much of a leap. There's a lot of opportunity there.”