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Fremantle (company)

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Fremantle Limited
  • Pearson Television (1993–2001)
  • FremantleMedia (2001–2018)
Company typeSubsidiary
Founded1993; 31 years ago (1993)
Area served
Key people
Jennifer Mullin (CEO)
ParentPearson plc (1993–2001)
RTL Group (2001–present)
SubsidiariesSee § Production offices and labels
Fremantle Licensing
  • Fremantle Overseas Radio and Television (1952–1958)
  • Fremantle International (1958–1994, 2018–present for Fremantle's current international distribution division)
  • All American Fremantle International Inc (1994–1998)
  • Pearson Television Licensing (1998–2001)
Company typeSubsidiary
Founded1952; 72 years ago (1952)
FounderPaul Talbot
Area served
ParentAll American Television (1994–1998)
Pearson plc (1998–2001)
RTL Group (2001–present)
Footnotes / references

Fremantle Limited[3] (/ˈfrmæntəl/), formerly FremantleMedia, is a British multinational television production and distribution company based in London. The company was founded as Pearson Television in 1993 when publishing and education company Pearson acquired the former British ITV franchisee Thames Television. Fremantle takes its name from Fremantle International, which was acquired by predecessor company All American Television in 1994. Pearson Television and Bertelsmann's CLT-UFA merged in 2000 to form the RTL Group, with Pearson Television itself being renamed FremantleMedia on 20 August of the following year.

Fremantle owns non-scripted formats, including the British talent shows Idols, Got Talent and The X Factor; all of which have been sold globally. Since 1994, Fremantle has distributed American game shows locally in the US and globally.



Pearson Television (1993–2001)


On 23 April 1993, Pearson plc bought Thames Television, which had been one of the "Big Five" franchisees in the ITV network from 1968 to 1992, and, as an independent production company, was continuing to produce many shows for ITV and other broadcasters. Thames became the first division of Pearson Television, and Pearson gained the rights to Thames programmes like The Benny Hill Show and The Bill.[4][5]

Then in 1995 it acquired Australian production company Grundy Television.[6][7][8] Allied Communications Inc. (ACI), a U.S.-based distributor of made-for-television films, was purchased later that year for $40 million.[9][10] In 1996, Pearson Television bought the British production company SelecTV plc, and merged into it.[11]

Pearson Television announced on 1 October 1997 that it would launch a $373 million cash tender offer for publicly traded U.S. television company All American Communications Inc.[12] On 5 November, Pearson completed its tender offer, and All American was merged into Pearson Television the following year. This acquisition gave Pearson worldwide rights to various game show formats as well as drama series in the U.S. such as Baywatch, while All American Music Group was sold to Zomba Records subsidiary Volcano Entertainment.

Pearson Television acquired Italian drama production company Mastrofilm on 3 November 1998,[13] and European animation financer and distributor EVA Entertainment on 2 February 1999.[14] In April 2000, Pearson TV decided to take over Smith & Jones' UK production company Talkback Productions.[15]

Fremantle International

Fremantle International logo used from 1972 to 1991

The first incarnation of Fremantle was founded in 1952 by Paul Talbot as Fremantle Overseas Radio and Television and later renamed as Fremantle International in 1958, named after the city in Western Australia. It was involved in the production of television series, movies, and specials from 1964 to 1994 and owned game show formats from Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions, Stewart Television, Barry & Enright Productions, Kline and Friends, Hatos-Hall Productions, and Chuck Barris Productions internationally.

In 1976, Australian executive Richard Becker, of Becker Entertainment was made head of the Australian operation of Fremantle International Productions, and a year later integrated its operations with R.A. Becker's production arm (later Becker Entertainment) to license out its title library.[16]

By the 1980s, Fremantle had become the largest producer of game shows in Europe.[17][18] In 1989, The Interpublic Group of Companies bought a 49% minority interest in Fremantle International. On 20 May 1991, Interpublic Group increased its ownership stake in Fremantle International to 80%, with Paul Talbot retaining a 20% holding in the company.

Interpublic Group agreed to sell assets of Fremantle International to All American Communications Inc. for $63 million in cash and stock on 7 July 1994.[19] All American acquired Fremantle International in August. Paul Talbot continued to own The Fremantle Corporation, the international distributor of All American's Baywatch and other programs until his death in 2005, and the company's assets were later acquired by Canadian-based Kaleidoscope Entertainment in June 2006.[20] All American Fremantle International managed and distributed Mark Goodson Productions' game show formats worldwide. In 1998, All American Television and All American Fremantle International were renamed Pearson Television North America and Pearson Television Licensing, and operated under those names until being renamed in 2001.

FremantleMedia (2001–2018)

FremantleMedia logo from 20 August 2001 to 9 September 2018.

In 2000, German conglomerate Bertelsmann announced that it would form a joint venture between its CLT-UFA group (itself a merger of Luxembourg's CLT and German studio UFA GmbH) with Pearson Television (whose library included former British ITV franchise Thames Television, All American Television—who owned the libraries of U.S. syndicators Lexington Broadcast Services and Blair Entertainment and game show producers Mark Goodson Productions and Fremantle International, and Australia's Reg Grundy Organisation) to create a multinational media group and content business—eventually known as RTL Group—to consolidate their broadcasting and production activities,[21][22] and provide a European competitor to American-owned media conglomerates.[23] The content business would be renamed FremantleMedia in 2001,[22] while Bertelsmann would later increase its stake in RTL Group to achieve majority ownership.[24][25]

In 2005, FremantleMedia announced their acquisition of a 75% majority stake in Danish production company Blu, acquiring remaining shares in the company five years later.[26]

In the mid-2010s, FremantleMedia began to increase its investments into "high-end" scripted dramas to diversify its output. The strategy proved successful for the company, with international dramas having increasingly accounted for more of its overall revenue.[27][28][29]

In September 2015, FremantleMedia announced their acquisition of French scripted content production company Fontaram Productions.[30] Later that month, they announced that had acquired a 25% stake in Naked Entertainment.[31] However in 2020, they announced that they took full control of Naked Entertainment acquiring the remaining 75% stake in it.[32]

A day later they acquired a 75% majority stake in Dutch reality television production company No Pictures Please.[33]

In September 2017, FremantleMedia announced their acquisition of Australian producer Essential Media & Entertainment's dramatic division, relaunching the company as Easy Tiger.[34]

In January 2018, FremantleMedia announced that it had sold its Kids & Family Entertainment division to Boat Rocker Media.[35] In July 2018, FremantleMedia North America CEO Jennifer Mullin was named the new CEO of the worldwide company, replacing the outgoing Cecile Frot-Coutaz.[36]

Fremantle (2018–present)


On 10 September 2018, the company changed its public-facing brand to "Fremantle", introducing a new handwritten logo (Fremantle Media remains the company's legal name). Mullin described the logo as a "creative signature" that "[puts] our own unique mark on everything that we do."[37] In July 2020, Fremantle spun off Storyglass into an independent company within Bertelsmann.[38] In September, Fremantle merged Boundless and Naked Entertainment to form Naked Television.[39]

In March 2022, Fremantle announced their acquisition of Italian production house Lux Vide.[40]

In May 2022, Fremantle acquired a majority stake in the Irish film and television production company Element Pictures. As part of the deal, Element's film distribution arm was spun off to form Volta Pictures.[41]

In November 2022, Fremantle announced their acquisition of a majority stake in British documentary production company 72 Films.[42]

In November 2022, it was announced that Fremantle had acquired a majority stake in the Tel Aviv-based independent production company, Silvio Productions.[43]

In February 2024, Fremantle announced their acquisition of Singaporean independent TV producer Beach House Pictures from Canadian entertainment company Blue Ant Media.[44] Later in that same month, Fremantle announced that they had made a deal to acquire French-based global production studio Asacha Media Group with co-founder and CEO of Asacha, Gaspard de Chavagnac continuing to run the latter company.[45]



Fremantle owns of a number of non-scripted formats, including the talent shows Idol, Got Talent, and The X Factor (the latter two with Simon Cowell's Syco Entertainment), and game shows via its ownership of the libraries of U.S. producer Goodson–Todman Productions, Australian producer Reg Grundy, and others, which includes formats Family Feud, The Price is Right and Sale of the Century among others.

Via the Reg Grundy library, Fremantle Australia owns a number of notable Australian dramas and soap operas, including the long-running Neighbours and Prisoner.[27]

Since the mid-2010s, Fremantle has increased its focus on scripted series internationally, having produced or distributed programmes such as American Gods, Beecham House, Charité, Deutschland 83, Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Rain, The Young Pope and The Mosquito Coast.[27][28][29]

Production offices and labels

Fremantle North America headquarters at the Pointe office building in Burbank, California

Fremantle has production units across its global offices and network of companies.

In the United States, Fremantle's largest production and distribution division, Fremantle North America is based in Burbank, California, and includes a portfolio of companies. Fremantle North America produces and distributes scripted and alternative programs for broadcast and cable networks, syndication and streaming platforms.

In addition, Fremantle North America owns several other smaller production companies; among these are Thom Beers' Original Productions (responsible for creation and production of numerous reality shows such as Deadliest Catch, Ax Men, and Ice Road Truckers) and Amygdala Music, Leslie Beers' production and composition firm that writes themes, incidental, and featured music for Original Productions shows.

Production and distribution labels from Fremantle include:

List of production offices
Region/country Unit(s)
United Kingdom
United States
  • UFA GmbH
  • UFA Fiction
  • UFA Serial Drama
  • UFA Show & Factual
  • UFA Documentary[69]
  • Kabo Family
  • Kwaï[70]
  • Mintee Studio
  • Srab Films
  • Fiction Valley[71]
  • Blue Circle[72]
  • No Pictures Please[73] (Netherlands; 100% ownership since 1 January 2020[74])
  • Tebbernekkel[75]
  • A Team Productions[76]
  • En Cero Coma Producciones[82]
  • Moskito Television[84]
  • Grillifilms
  • Production House
  • Abot Hameiri (founded by Eitan Abot and Guy Hameiri in 2006, this company became part of Fremantle in 2016)[78][90][91]
  • Silvio Productions[43]
  • Beach House Pictures


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