Fremantle Australia

Fremantle Australia (formerly FremantleMedia Australia) is the Australian arm of global British production and entertainment company Fremantle. It was formed in 2006 by the merger of market leader Grundy Television and comedy specialists Crackerjack Productions, which had both been acquired previously by Fremantle.

Fremantle Australia Pty Ltd.
FremantleMedia Australia (2006–2018)
PredecessorReg Grundy Organisation (1959–2006)
Crackerjack Productions
HeadquartersSydney, Australia
Melbourne, Australia
Key people
Chris Oliver-Taylor (Chief Executive Officer)



Grundy was founded by Reg Grundy. Its first production, Wheel of Fortune in 1959, was an original idea devised by Grundy for a radio game show, before he took the idea to Sydney television network TCN9 (now part of the Nine Network). The then 36-year-old worked both as both the show's producer and host.[1]

With the show becoming a success, Grundy realized that US network television could serve as a ready source of new quiz show ideas. He began visiting America to spot attractive formats for adapting and re-making back in Australia.[2] It is often said that Reg Grundy was the world's first TV format producer, and the only 'format mogul' to have originated out of Australia. The formation of a licensing entity Reg Grundy Enterprises and Grundy International Distribution set the normal operating system for many production houses worldwide.

Grundy grew to become the largest privately owned Australian producer and distributor of television programmes both domestically and internationally. Realising that in order for Grundy's to thrive, the company diversified from solely producing game shows to making serial drama, telemovies and children's fiction.

Grundy's first success in the serial drama genre came during the 1970s with The Young Doctors, The Restless Years, Sons And Daughters and Prisoner, which grew into a worldwide cult hit.

With Grundy cementing its production dominance in Australia, a US Grundy office was set up in 1979 to sell programming to the American networks. One of the most successful format sales was Sale of the Century—originally a US format—that Reg had produced in Australia and then purchased the rights outright.

As Grundy's grew and set up its presence around the world—particularly in Britain—the company was named Grundy Worldwide outside Australia and the Grundy Organisation locally.

With a string of hits and format deals around the world, one of Grundy's television legacies is serial drama Neighbours. First commissioned and broadcast by Channel 7 in 1985, it aired on Network Ten from 1986 to 2010 and then its digital channel 11 from January 2011. Neighbours continues to prove a hit, ranking number one in its time slot for the key young adult target groups. Neighbours was the highest-rated daytime drama series in the UK in 2007, with audiences over three million viewers. Neighbours moved to broadcaster Channel Five in the UK in February 2008 and is the highest-rated daytime show for the broadcaster.

On March 26, 1995,[3] a deal was signed in London between Reg Grundy and global entertainment company Pearson Television to acquire Grundy Worldwide. The Australian branch of the company remained with its roots and was called Grundy Television from 1995 to 2006, when it eventually took on the rebranded company name FremantleMedia Australia.

In April 2000, Pearson Television merged with CLT-UFA to create RTL Group, a broadcast, content and digital producer. In August 2001, Pearson Television changed its name to FremantleMedia for the content production division of RTL Group and in December of that year Pearson Television's holding company, Pearson PLC, sold its stake in RTL Group to the German-based Bertelsmann Group, which is one of the world's largest media companies.

In 2003, FremantleMedia acquired Crackerjack Productions and in 2006 FremantleMedia merged both the Australian production companies, Grundy and Crackerjack, and formed FremantleMedia Australia.[4]

Crackerjack Productions

Crackerjack Productions was an independent television production company headed by brothers Mark and Carl Fennessy. Based in St Leonards, Sydney, it concentrated on comedy-related projects, with forays into light entertainment, music, factual and reality television. It was partially acquired by Fremantle in 2003[5] and in 2006 was merged with Grundy Television to form Fremantle Australia.[6]

CP productions

Crackerjack productions included:

CP controversies

It was reported in August 2002 that the Federal Court in Sydney had ruled that Crackerjack had "misled job seekers about the availability of work offered by it while making a reality television program for Network Ten".[7]


In 2011, Spring, a content creation division of the company was established.[8]

Some of FremantleMedia Australia's productions include: Australian Idol, Family Feud (2014 Australian game show), The Great Australian Bake Off (season 2), Grand Designs Australia, Australia's Got Talent, The X Factor and The Farmer Wants a Wife and original dramas such as Wentworth, Neighbours, Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story, Mary: The Making of a Princess, Wonderland and Better Man. FremantleMedia also produced the drama Picnic at Hanging Rock. FremantleMedia Australia also brought adaptations of US programmes to Australia including: MasterChef Australia, The Biggest Loser and So You Think You Can Dance.

Since Jennifer Mullin (former chief of North American unit) became the company's new CEO for International in September, in the same month the company introduced a new logo identifying it simply as "Fremantle" ("Fremantle Australia" in Australia).

Fremantle Australia is led by CEO Chris Oliver-Taylor. It continues to produce branded entertainment and digital media content.

Fremantle Australia has exclusive rights to adapt unscripted Keshet International formats in both Australia and New Zealand.[9]

Current Programmes

Former Programmes

Digital Media


  1. TV Format Mogul: Reg Grundy's Transnational Career by Albert Moran
  2. TV Format Mogul: Reg Grundy's Transnational Career by Albert Moran
  3. Reg Grundy by Reg Grundy memoirs published in 2010 by Pier 9
  4. FremantleMedia's Official Site
  5. Guider, Elizabeth (12 October 2013). "Fremantle picks up Crackerjack". Variety. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  6. Idato, Michael (23 July 2007). "Street Sweeper". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  7. "Court finds TV production company misled job seekers, aided by TV network". Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. 30 August 2002. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  8. Fremantle Media launches Spring, a new content creation division to meet growing local demand "Retrieved on February 19, 2012"
  9. Knox, David (21 November 2018). "Fremantle & Keshet International strike formats deal". TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
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