Fremantle (company)

Fremantle /ˈfrmæntəl/ (formerly FremantleMedia) is a British international television content and production/distribution subsidiary of Bertelsmann's RTL Group, founded in 2001, and evolved as Europe's largest TV, radio, and production company. Its world headquarters is in London.

Fremantle Limited
FremantleMedia (2001–2018)
PredecessorLBS (1976–1992)
Embankment Trust (1939–1988)
Camco Industries (1988–1993)
Jim Victory Television (1971–1989)
Reg Grundy Productions (1987–2001)
All-American Television (1994–1998)
Pearson Television (1996–2001)
Founded20 August 2001 (2001-08-20)[1]
Key people
Jennifer Mullin (CEO)
ParentRTL Group

The company originated from a merger between Luxembourgish-German joint venture CLT-UFA, which consisted of Germany's largest television production company and held a variety of European TV and radio broadcasters on the Luxembourgish side, and their British rival Pearson TV, the television branch sold off by Pearson PLC. What emerged became the RTL Group in July 2000, while the structures of Pearson were transferred into the new FremantleMedia a year later.

In the years before as well as after the merger, the company had acquired various British, Australian, and American production companies including Talkback, Thames Television (which later merged as Talkback Thames), Grundy Television, Crackerjack Productions (now merged to become FremantleMedia Australia), and Goodson-Todman Productions (later Mark Goodson Productions, now folded into Fremantle North America).

Production and rights holdings

The company holds the rights to shows such as Let's Make a Deal, Family Feud and Press Your Luck. Fremantle also produced Temptation and an interactive gameshow Quizmania for ITV Play.

They own the rights to most of the post-1948 Bob Hope film catalogue that includes The Seven Little Foys, The Lemon Drop Kid, and Son of Paleface. They were also the distributors of the television series Baywatch.

In-house productions include Pop Idol and its related spin-offs (including American Idol), and three carryover productions from Mark Goodson Productions: the current versions of The Price Is Right, and Family Feud, and the 2002 revival of Beat the Clock (for Pax TV). Currently, they hold rights (under license from Fuji Television) to the game Brain Wall, more commonly known as Hole in the Wall in over 20 countries.

They have also licensed rights to international formats including The Apprentice (with creator Mark Burnett for BBC One), The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency (on Oxygen in the U.S.), the Simon Cowell-produced series The X Factor (in the UK), and America's Got Talent for NBC, the long running Australian serials Neighbours and Prisoner, Distraction (on Comedy Central), and Gameshow Marathon (on CBS). In other countries, they own the franchise rights to Betty, la fea, known as (Verliebt In Berlin) in Germany, (Yo Soy Bea) in Spain, (Lotte) in the Netherlands, Sara in Belgium and Maria I Asximi in Greece. FremantleMedia also holds international distribution rights to the Three's Company franchise, all based on Thames' Man About the House and its spin-offs.

The company also owns the back catalogue of the American TV production company Reeves Entertainment, which was acquired by the now defunct UK broadcasting strand Thames Television in 1990. Additionally, FremantleMedia bought the rights to all former programming of Thames from Pearson International in 2002, meaning they also hold rights to a variety of shows from the Thames archives including popular children's shows from the 1970s and 1980s such as the long-running The Sooty Show and Rainbow.

FremantleMedia bought a controlling share of the Canadian video game development company Ludia in October 2010.[2]

On 19 November 2012, FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) announced a major new distribution agreement with WWE for the exclusive home entertainment rights to WWE's catalogue of programming across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), after Silver Vision was shut down on 31 December 2012. The deal went into effect in January 2013 and saw FME managing the DVD, Blu-ray, and digital rights for all new and existing WWE content, making it the first time that fans of WWE's popular programming can access it digitally across EMEA.

On 1 February 2013, FremantleMedia announced they will dismantle its FremantleMedia Enterprises division into two stand-alone global divisions; one for kids & family entertainment and distribution and the other for digital and branded entertainment.[3] In April 2013, FremantleMedia announced a partnership with digital network Blip to develop a new pet-related entertainment destination on Blip powered by FremantleMedia's digital programming site, The Pet Collective. The Pet Collective was Launched online in April 2012, and is a digital producer of animal-friendly content that celebrates the connection between animals and their human companions.[4]

On 30 January 2014, FremantleMedia was in negotiations to acquire rival All3Media;[5] however, the exclusivity period granted to Fremantle expired and, in May 2014, All3Media was acquired by US media giants Discovery and Liberty Global.[6] On 26 March 2014, FremantleMedia acquired a 75% stake in 495 Productions, with an option to acquire the remaining 25% in the near future.[7]

On 13 October 2017, FremantleMedia announced that they have acquired the worldwide format rights to the classic game show Supermarket Sweep[8] and that a revival of the show was in the works.

In January 2018, Fremantle sold its children's production studio and library to Canadian studio Boat Rocker.[9]

In September 2018, Jennifer Mullin, currently the company's North American CEO, became the new Chairwoman & CEO of the worldwide company. Later that month, the company introduced a new logo identifying it as simply Fremantle.[10][11]

Company structure

Fremantle International is the global distribution division which is responsible for global sales across Linear Television, Digital and Home Entertainment platforms of finished content, format sales in non-production territories as well as acquiring and developing new programmes for the international market.

Fremantle's US production & distribution division is Fremantle North America (FMNA). Based in Burbank, California, Fremantle North America and its portfolio of companies, including Original Productions and 495 Productions, is a content studio which produces & distributes scripted and alternative programs for broadcast and cable networks, syndication, and streaming platforms.

In addition, Fremantle 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. 495 Productions has specialised in developing programs.

Reorganisation of UK brands

In November 2011, it was announced that FremantleMedia were to reorganise the British operations from 1 January 2012. Talkback Thames brand would be split into four different labels within the newly created FremantleMedia UK production arm:

  • Boundless for factual programming
  • Hare and Tortoise (known as Retort from 2012 to 2018) for scripted comedy [12]
  • Talkback for comedy
  • Thames for mainstream entertainment[13]

List of Fremantle productions


  1. Adam Dawtrey (20 August 2001). "Pearson TV placed on Fremantle". Variety. London.
  2. Mark Sweney (18 October 2010). "Fremantle increases stake in Ludia". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  3. Jeremy "Kidscreen" Dickson (1 February 2013). "FremantleMedia reorg to focus on kids, family and distribution". Kidscreen. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  4. Michelle Clancy (26 April 2013). "FremantleMedia extends the Pet Collective online TV content to Blip". Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  5. "FremantleMedia in All3Media takeover talks". Broadcast magazine. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.(subscription required)
  6. Mark Sweney (8 May 2014). "All3Media sold to Discovery and Liberty Global in deal worth £500m". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  7. Nellie Andreeva (26 March 2014). "FremantleMedia Acquires Majority Stake in SallyAnn Salsano's 495 Prods". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  8. Gillian Furmage (13 October 2017). "Go wild in the aisles! Supermarket Sweep set to make a comeback". The Sunday Post. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  9. Peter White (25 January 2018). "FremantleMedia Moves Out of Kids Content, Sells Unit To Canada's Boat Rocker". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  10. Stewart Clarke (26 July 2018). "FremantleMedia Names Jennifer Mullin New CEO". Variety. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  11. Stewart Clarke (7 September 2018). "FremantleMedia Rebrands as Fremantle, With Jennifer Mullin Newly at the Helm". Variety. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  12. Kaltrina Bylykbashi (19 July 2018). "Fremantle launches UK comedy label Hare and Tortoise". TBI Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  13. Tara Conlan (23 November 2011). "Talkback Thames to be split up". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
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