NORTH ROAD ASSETS INCLUDE 100% OWNERSHIP OF CHERNIN ENTERTAINMENT, NEWLY ACQUIRED RED ARROW STUDIOS (U.S. ASSETS), AND WORDS + PICTURES
- PROVIDENCE EQUITY PARTNERS INVESTING UP TO $500MM OF EQUITY FINANCING FOR EXPANSION
- APOLLO, THROUGH ITS MANAGED AFFILIATES, PROVIDES $300MM OF DEBT FINANCING
- EXECUTIVE TEAM HIRED IN EUROPE TO BUILD OUT INTERNATIONAL PRODUCTION BUSINESS
LOS ANGELES, July 6, 2022 - Peter Chernin announced today the establishment of The North Road Company (North Road), a global, multi-genre studio with the goal of producing scripted and non-scripted film and TV content across the United States and international markets. The formation combines several existing, market-leading assets: (1) Chernin Entertainment, the scripted TV and film business formed in 2010 by Chernin and led by Jenno Topping; (2) Red Arrow Studios’ U.S. assets, which North Road acquired on June 30 from European media company ProSiebenSat.1; and (3) full ownership of Words + Pictures, the premium non-scripted business formed by Connor Schell, Chernin, and Jesse Jacobs in 2021. Chernin will serve as chairman and CEO, North Road.
Longtime Chernin partner Providence Equity Partners L.L.C. is investing up to $500mm of equity to support North Road’s expansion. Apollo, through its managed affiliates, provided $300mm of debt financing.
The North Road leadership team across the operating companies and divisions includes Jenno Topping, who oversees the scripted TV and film business in her continued role as president, Chernin Entertainment, which she has been instrumental in building and overseeing since 2011; Connor Schell, who continues to run Words + Pictures and will now oversee additional non-scripted businesses at North Road; and Chris Coelen (Kinetic Content), Ken Druckerman & Banks Tarver (Left/Right), Stephanie & Rasha Drachkovitch (44 Blue Productions), Dirk Hoogstra (Half Yard), and Chris Dorsey (Dorsey Pictures), who will each continue to lead their respective key production businesses within Red Arrow. Jacobs serves as a North Road Board member. Jan Frouman, president, North Road, will be involved in overall growth strategy with a focus on international expansion, along with Kristin Jones, president, international TV.
Our goal is to build a leading global, independent content studio by combining top industry production entities with leaders who are each proven experts in their businesses," said Chernin. “Premium scripted and non-scripted content across film and TV is in high demand both in the U.S. and globally, and we aspire to meet the needs of the streamers, cable networks, broadcasters, and any other platform that may emerge with exceptional, commercial content. Jenno, Connor, Chris, Jan, Kristin, and the entire leadership team at Red Arrow are among the best creative executives in the business, and I’m beyond excited to have them all together to make North Road a success.”
“The growing demand for premium content represents a tremendous opportunity, and we believe there is no one better suited to capture it than the outstanding team at North Road,” said Davis Noell, senior managing director and co-head of North America at Providence. “We are excited to build upon the decade-long partnership between Providence and Chernin and embark on this journey to create a global independent leader in premium scripted and non-scripted content.”
At launch, North Road becomes one of the largest suppliers of TV and film content, combining Chernin Entertainment’s robust slate with 45 active productions across Red Arrow’s U.S. portfolios and over 15 active productions at Words + Pictures.
Chernin Entertainment, with Topping at the helm, has produced over 25 feature films, including the Oscar®-winning FORD V FERRARI, the Oscar-nominated HIDDEN FIGURES and THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, and the global blockbuster PLANET OF THE APES trilogy, plus television shows including the long-running hit New Girl. The studio’s upcoming projects include SLUMBERLAND, a film starring Jason Momoa, and LUTHER, a feature based on the famed British TV series starring original cast lead Idris Elba joined by Cynthia Erivo and Andy Serkis, both slated for Netflix, and new seasons of See and Truth be Told, both on Apple TV+. In addition to heading TV and film at Chernin for over 10 years, Topping has produced and executive produced dozens of blockbuster classics, such as THE HEAT and SPY and, earlier in her career, CHARLIE’S ANGELS, 28 DAYS, and DR. DOLITTLE.
Words + Pictures is a nonfiction content studio with a mission to develop, produce, and finance premium, culturally relevant storytelling. It has a full slate of documentaries and docuseries in active production and recently acquired award-winning production company Hock Films, led by acclaimed director Jonathan Hock. In addition to its focus on unscripted storytelling, Words + Pictures operates Full Day Productions, which develops and produces live entertainment and specials, including this year’s Oscar’s Red Carpet Show and next month’s ESPY Awards. Prior to founding Words + Pictures, Schell co-created and executive produced the ground-breaking 30 for 30 series and executive produced the Emmy Award-winning The Last Dance and the Academy Award-winning O.J.: Made in America, all at ESPN.
Red Arrow’s U.S. assets include two of the top reality shows on Netflix in Love is Blind and Ultimatum, one of the leading reality shows on cable in Married at First Sight (LIFETIME), as well as The Circus (Showtime) and Say Yes to the Dress (TLC).
Frouman and Jones will work out of North Road’s new London office, where they will drive international growth and expansion strategies across non-scripted and scripted TV and film. Frouman served as chairman and CEO of Red Arrow prior to joining North Road from Westbrook. Jones comes to North Road from AMC Networks, where she served as EVP, international programming and programming innovation and was responsible for such shows as The Night Manager, Killing Eve, and Gangs of London. In her role at North Road, Jones will focus on identifying companies, talent relationships, and film and TV projects for the international marketplace.
North Road was advised in the deal by Centerview Partners and Moelis & Company; legal representation was provided by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. Red Arrow was advised by Morgan Stanley. Words + Pictures was advised by Sidley Austin.
About Providence Equity Partners
Providence Equity Partners is a specialist private equity investment firm focused on growth-oriented media, communications, education, and technology companies across North America and Europe. Providence combines its partnership approach to investing with deep industry expertise to help management teams build exceptional businesses and generate attractive returns.
Since its founding in 1989, Providence has invested over $31 billion across more than 170 private equity portfolio companies. With its headquarters in Providence, RI, the firm also has offices in New York, London, Boston and Atlanta.
For more information, please visit www.provequity.com.
About The North Road Company
Founded in 2022 by Peter Chernin, The North Road Company is a global, multi-genre studio that produces scripted, documentary, and non-scripted film and TV content across the United States and international markets. North Road comprises market-leading production entities including Chernin Entertainment, the scripted TV and film business formed in 2010; Red Arrow Studios’ U.S. assets (Kinetic Content, Left/Right, and 44 Blue Productions); Words + Pictures, the premium non-fiction business; and an international business devoted to strategic acquisitions and localized programming. North Road is one of the largest suppliers of TV and film content, with over 70 active productions from Chernin Entertainment, Words + Pictures and Red Arrow’s U.S. portfolios.