Endemol Shine Group Cancels Kew Media Contracts, As Channel 5 Co-Production Deal Breaks Down

Jake Kanter

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EXCLUSIVE: Endemol Shine Group and ViacomCBS network Channel 5 have become the latest companies to sever ties with Kew Media Distribution (KMD) as the embattled TV sales house edges closer to collapse.

KMD was responsible for selling Agatha And The Curse Of Ishtar and Agatha And The Death of X (working title), a pair of Agatha Christie-inspired dramas Channel 5 commissioned from Endemol Shine producer DSP. But Endemol Shine terminated the distribution deals last month and is in the process of handing the contracts over to Endemol Shine International.

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The Agatha dramas formed part of a three-year co-production deal KMD inked with Channel 5 in September 2018, under which the distributor fronted a chunk of the production fee on selected scripted projects in exchange for taking international rights. Channel 5 does not expect to draw on the financing arrangement again, meaning the deal is effectively dead.

Deadline understands that around six dramas were funded under the co-production agreement, and a number of the producers involved are seeking to extricate themselves from the KMD distribution contracts, much like Endemol Shine. This includes Chalkboard TV, which made the critically acclaimed Cold Call, and Clink producer LA Productions.

Sources have said that the producers involved are not out of pocket. The Channel 5 co-production deal was structured so that KMD recouped its costs first, and then took a fee on international sales after breaking even. It is understood that none of the Channel 5 projects reached the stage where they were cash positive. Furthermore, any agreed sales should be passed over by KMD to a new distributor.

As Deadline revealed earlier this month, KMD is on the precipice of closure as it stares down the barrel of a winding-up order. A court will decide next month if the company is liquidated and its assets sold off. It follows KMD’s parent company, Kew Media Group, being delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange last month after defaulting on its credit facility because it filed “inaccurate” financial information.

Like Endemol Shine, other companies are seeking to untangle themselves from KMD. This includes Amos Pictures, which used KMD to sell HBO/Channel 4 film Leaving Neverland internationally.

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