Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios is trying to make United Artists happen … again. Originally launched in 1919, the United Artists banner has been through its ups and downs. Its most recent revival came in 2006, thanks to Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner, and MGM. But after Wagner left in 2008, and Cruise’s stake disappeared a few years later, it is now fully owned by MGM. And now, the studio is planning a relaunch.
MGM announced in a press release that is has acquired a 55 percent interest in Roma Downey, Mark Burnett and Hearst Entertainment’s One Three Media and LightWorkers Media, which includes hit shows Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank, and more. According to MGM, those entities will be consolidated into a “new media venture called United Artists Media Group.”
Although UAGM will include both scripted and non-scripted television shows, it will also feature motion pictures and digital content, with Burnett serving as CEO. Meanwhile, Downey will serve as president of Lightworkers Media, the faith and family division of UAMG.
“I am extremely pleased to be partnering with Mark, Roma and Steve in this incredible new venture that we believe will be accretive to MGM’s business,” MGM’s CEO Gary Barber said in a press release. “Mark and Roma are without a doubt the most successful and dominant players in unscripted television and faith-based content and we are excited to be distributing UAMG content worldwide. Together with Hearst Entertainment’s vast array of media assets and knowledge, MGM could not have wished for better partners to continue to grow the MGM business of creating premium content for distribution across multiple platforms. Additionally, we are extremely optimistic about the launch of an exciting new Over-The-Top (OTT) faith-based channel. Finally, I am truly honored to welcome Mark, Roma, Steve and their entire team into the MGM family.”
Speaking of the Over-The-Top channel, MGM is hoping it will “create a singular destination for audiences of faith worldwide and on every screen.” The channel will have original content, premium film and television catalog titles, user-created short-term faith-based videos, and more.
Hearst Corporation president and CEO Steven Swartz added: “MGM is a storied entertainment company and we are excited to expand our partnership with Gary and his team, as well as Mark and Roma, to create the next hit programming for a new audience of consumers.”